78. Le Livre Messire Ode


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, 15th century; 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.

As noted in the Introduction (p. 29), the closest model for this poem is Machaut’s VD, but with substantial differences. Basso (pp. 157–59) points out that even in following Machaut, Granson sometimes reverses the image that he borrows from his source. The imitation of the formal model of VD is also rather loose. As Wimsatt observes, Granson is rather less careful than Machaut about distinguishing the embedded lyrics from the narrative (in couplets) about their composition: there are instances (e.g. lines 1195–1218) where a lyric simply continues the narrative, while elsewhere, couplets are used “where we might expect a stanzaic piece” (e.g. lines 452–519). Such a blending, together with “the fragmentation of the Livre into numerous set pieces, . . . actually represents a logical development of the long love poem in the Middle French mode. The essential nature of the works is lyric” (FC, p. 231). The lyric basis of the Livre is also the burden of much of the small body of commentary on the poem, which has focused in different ways on its lack of narrative development and its lack of closure. Boulton, for instance, notes that the poem from the very beginning presents a record of the narrator’s “current distress, rather than the history of the love affair,” and thus is destined to end without resolution (p. 224). Granson “seems to have renounced the progression of the complainte-comfort structure [more typical of the dits amoureux] in favor of the stasis inherent in the lyric complainte” (p. 228). For Arden (“Love’s Martyrs”), the poem reconfigures the experience described by its predecessors into a type of game, “a perpetual pattern of suffering and submission played out in the mind of the lover” in which the lady, only a “mute idol,” “must keep the game going by a delicate balance between cruelty and kindness, so that the lover may continue to proclaim his pain forever” (p. 107). “Anything that ends the game is to be avoided” (p. 115), and for this reason Granson left his poem unfinished (p. 118). Basso also finds that the work “presents itself as unfinished” (p. 149), and she describes its lack of development in contrast to Machaut’s DLA, in which the four birds represent the growth in the narrator’s understanding both of love and of himself. Carden, however, who examines the manifestations of the first-person in the poem in relation to earlier poetry, finds a coherent pattern in the progress from the dream-vision in which the poet-narrator is distinguished from the lover that he observes, in the manner of a typical dit, to the final group of lyrics, in which the voices of poet and lover are again united as in the poem’s opening.
Among other possible sources, Wimsatt ( FC, pp. 227–34) lists Machaut’s Remede de Fortune, FA, and DLA, Froissart’s PA, and Chaucer’s TC and BD. Specific passages are cited below.

For the line numbering in this edition and in GW’s, whose numbering we have retained, compared to Piaget’s, see the Concordance on p. 393 below.

Title The poem contains no title and no indication of authorship in any of the manuscripts in which it appears. The title by which it is now known, Le Livre Messire Ode, is entirely Piaget’s invention, based on a line in Martin Le Franc’s Le Champion des Dames which may or may not refer to this poem, even if it is by Granson. For the problems of attribution, see the Introduction, pp. 14–15.

1–188 Boulton notes that Granson “begins his Livre in the present, and gives only enough history to account for his melancholy state” (p. 224). For Arden, this opening section introduces the motifs — particularly the interplay of suffering and hope and the paradox of the lover’s willing submission to his lady’s will — that are developed during the remainder of the poem (“Love’s Martyrs,” pp. 108–12). Specific details of the introduction are recalled in the first dream, which appears to recapitulate in greater detail the narrator’s revelation of his love to his lady. See the note to lines 189–1726 below.

1–4 Basso (p. 159n2) notes the similarity of these lines to Machaut’s VD, lines 11–12, though in this case, the narrator evidently intends to make a written request for love where the spoken word has failed (p. 150). Boulton observes that “although he intends to send [his book] to her, we never actually learn its fate” (p. 224). The promise that he refers to here is also not recorded, and in his later comments on the composition of the poem, he doesn’t refer again to the purpose of presenting it to her. Compare, for example, lines 215–16, 1088–89. For Carden (pp. 80–81), the opening lines establish the narrator both as poet and as lover, roles that are conventionally distinguished in the dit and that are separated in the dream that follows.

4 faiz. Faiz most often means simply “acts” or “deeds” (e.g. at 69.38), but in specific contexts it can also signify “nature” or “features” (37.5, 72.59, 78.1260 ) or “attacks” (59.15, 78.1683). In contexts related to writing, as here and in 75.58, it refers primarily to a poet’s compositions, his or her “works.”

5–6 Non pas tous, maiz une partie / Diray de ma mellencolie. Basso (p. 159) cites these lines for contrast to VD 513–15, in which Machaut promises to include everything he has done or said.

7–9 Amours . . . une maistresse. Piaget (p. 145) takes these lines as a reference to 76 (see particularly lines 105–06); see the Introduction, pp. 14.

120 Though there is no break in the sense, a line rhyming in –ire lacks in both manuscripts that contain this passage. With 122, we resume the line numbering as in GW.

189–1726 The largest part of the poem is made up of the first dream. As Wimsatt notes (FC, p. 231), each of the separate encounters in the dream refers in some way to the narrator’s love for his lady, though as Basso suggests (p. 154), the narrator doesn’t seem to realize it. Boulton points out that unlike the dream visions of Granson’s predecessors, this one offers no relief to the narrator but only serves to “remind him of his sorrow” (p. 224). Attwood (“Dialectique amoureuse,” pp. 96–100) describes the dialogue structure of most of the dream, referring also to the mise en abîme of the narrator’s experience in his encounter with the young squire in lines 614–43. For Carden (p. 81), the dream episode is a fictive space that “allows the poet to explore his lyric subjectivity, heightening the distance between his historical identity and the one that he constructs in the text” (all subsequent translations are by the editors).

The narrative portion of the dream up to line 850 appears to recapitulate in greater detail the narrator’s revelation of his love to his lady, the event that has caused him such distress as the poem begins. Some of the verbal correspondences are quite precise: compare lines 19 and 707–8 (and also 507); 21 and 612; and 32–34 and 848–50. The same gallery of personifications also appears (though each also occurs later in the poem): compare lines 22–23 et al. (Reffuz) and 759, 844, and 875; 24 (Dangier) and 665; 51–52 (Desir and Souvenir) and 438–39, 721, 775; 66 (Espoir) and 436–37, 555–68, 706, 753, 812; 88 (Loyauté) and 745.

213 Et la recommançay ma plaincte. Carden (p. 82) notes that from the very beginning of the dream, the distinction between the waking narrator and the character of whom he dreams is effaced.

217–326 Like all but one of Granson’s poems that are labeled complaintes (the exception is 74), this one uses a stanza form that Granson also employs in his ballades, here an 11-line stanza rhyming ababbccddc (compare 58). With the complainte (not in fact so labeled) in 1887–1996 below, it is one of only two that use concatenation of the rhyme, as the c-rhyme in each stanza becomes the a-rhyme of the next. An exception occurs in the second to last stanza (lines 307–16), where it is the d-rhyme that becomes both the a-rhyme and the d-rhyme of the final stanza (lines 317–26).

226 partie. That is, in the judicial metaphor employed here, one of the parties to the dispute as well as the judge. Compare 1460.

236 Priez pour moy, s’il vous plaist, amoureux. Compare 39.8.

267–96 These three stanzas are linked by the continuation of the sentence from one stanza to the next. See 1907–36 below and the note to 46.10–11.

327–28 Ainsi que ma plainte escripsoie / Et en mon livre la mectoye. As Boulton notes, with reference to lines 834–35 and 1123–24 (pp. 225–26), Granson here blurs the distinction between waking and sleeping, as he records the poem in his book while in his dream. Compare the lines that precede the complainte (215–16), where the transcription is set outside the dream; and also the note to 213 above.

332 Je me doy bien tenir en joye. Though the rhyme is imperfect, this appears to be the first instance in the poem in which the opening line of an inserted lyric also supplies the second line of a couplet. See the note to line 583 below.

421–22 Vestu de noir, par desplaisance, / Me suis, sans prendre autre couleur. Wimsatt (FC, p. 227) traces the motif of dressing in black to Chaucer’s BD, though in Granson’s poem it “symbolizes unhappiness rather than bereavement.” Compare lines 485–86.

452–519 Wimsatt (FC, p. 230) notes the use of couplets “where we might expect a stanzaic piece.”

475 Though there is no break in the sense, a line rhyming in –ant lacks in both manuscripts that contain this passage, unless Granson, either accidentally or intentionally, wrote three lines in succession with the same rhyme (474–77). With 477, we resume the line numbering as in GW.

571 l’Ostel de Joye. Compare the “Inn of Sadness,” line 149 and the “Tower of Happiness,” line 159.

583 Je ne sçay plus que demander. The opening line not only provides the a-rhyme for this rondeau; it also supplies the second line of the couplet that begins with line 582, thus anchoring the inserted lyric to this point in the text. There are four other similar examples in the Livre Messire Ode, at lines 1440, 1643, 1680, and 1711, and another at line 332, though there the rhyme is imperfect. In all but one of these, both lines of the couplet (and thus the rest of the lyric) are in octosyllables, but in 1439–40, the first line is octosyllabic while the second (and the rest of the chanson) are in decasyllables. See also the note to lines 1881–91, where Granson may or may not use a similar device to attach a lyric to the narrative.

591–93 In the three rondeaux that contain 5-line stanzas (here and at 2034–54 and 2449–69 below), there is no indication in the manuscripts whether the partial repetition of the refrain in the second stanza should consist of the first two lines or the first three. (On the scribal presentation of the refrains, see the note to 1–9, above.) Only in the third example is the third line required for the sense. The resulting 6-line stanza could not have been sung to the same melody as the other stanzas, but the rhyme scheme aabaab is more satisfying than the 5-line aabaa that would result if only the first two lines were used. In expanding the scribes’ abbreviations, we have chosen the 3-line alternative for all three of these poems here.

612 Maiz je cuidoie le mieulx faire. Compare line 21. See the note to lines 189–1726 above.

702–833 The “Lay de Plour” shares its title with two poems by Machaut (numbers XIX and XXII in PL, 2:434–42 and 459–66) and another by Deschamps (Œuvres Complètes, 2:306). See Poirion, pp. 419–20, who also sees the influence of Machaut’s complainte “Amours, tu m’as tant esté dure” (PL, 1:241–49); and Betemps, “Les lais de plour,” who also sees “echoes” of other of Machaut’s works, including his ballades and Le Jugement dou Roy de Behaingne. As noted in the Introduction (p. 25–26), the stanza form that Granson employs here is a shorter version of the lai stanza, with twelve lines instead of sixteen — aab aab bbc bbc — and with concatenation, as the c-rhyme of each stanza is carried over to become the a-rhyme of the next.

707–08 Par hardement / De trop parler, suis maintenant. Compare line 19. See the note to lines 189–1726 above.

738 Mon cueur est vostre, non pas mien. Piaget notes the similarity to RR, line 1983: “Li cuers est vostres, non pas miens” (p. 165).

759 Mais Reffuz tresfort me guerroye. Compare lines 22–23. See the note to lines 189–1726 above.

828–31 saint Valentin. This is the first of three references to Saint Valentine in this poem. See also lines 1246–47 and 1996, and the Introduction, pp. 32–34.

848–50 Compare lines 32–34. See the note to lines 189–1726 above.

991 don d’amy. See the note to 12.4 above.

1024–50 Boulton (p. 224) notes that this is the only time in the poem that the narrator addresses his lady directly. Basso (pp. 151–52) sees in the lady’s return of the narrator’s heart her desire that he be more himself if he wishes her to love him, a lesson that he does not understand.

1089 ff. Machaut’s VD, which is the closest model for the quasi-autobiographical narrative in this poem, contains 46 inserted letters in prose.

sire de Cornoaille. Wimsatt (FC, p. 232) identifies the “Lord of Cornwall” as John of Cornwall, “a well-known military figure in the service of Edward III” (actually Edward’s younger brother), who died, however, in 1337. After John’s death, the title of Duke of Cornwall was held by Edward the Black Prince, and on his death in 1376, it passed to Edward’s son Richard, who became king a year later on the death of Edward III. If there is a “Lord of Cornwall” during the time when we must suppose this poem to have been written, it is Richard II of England. If the reference is not deliberately fictitious, perhaps Granson was more familiar with British geography than he was with the peerage.

1123 At the conclusion of the prose passage, we resume the line numbering following GW.

1125–34 Is this a dream within a dream? The boundaries between sleeping and waking again become blurred, as they do in the immediately preceding lines, in which the writing of the book evidently occurs within the dream. See the note to lines 327–28, above.

1139–1523 The man’s account of his courting of the sparrowhawk and the falcon recalls the four episodes in which the narrator pursues different birds in Machaut’s DLA. Compare also the different use of avian imagery in 77 Le Songe Saint Valentin. Wimsatt sees in the dialogue frame of this episode a “clear evocation” of the situation in Chaucer’s BD (FC, pp. 227–28). Boulton labels the entire episode “a dit, though it is not separated from the rest of the text” (p. 224). Carden describes the whole passage as a jeu parti, the judge of which must be the absent lady of line 1452, and like the dialogue between Heart and Body that follows, it marks a transition from a narrative mode to the lyric mode in which the poem ends (pp. 85–86).

1178–92 According to Wimsatt, the model for this passage is found in Chaucer’s TC, 1.622–69 (FC, pp. 228–29).

1195–1218 There is some uncertainty about the c-rhyme in this ballade. In the first stanza, manuscript B (which we use as our base) has jardins/pris, but in the second and third stanzas pourpris/prins and advis/prins. As GW notes in her edition, there exists a form jardil which (though not otherwise attested in Granson) could give jardis in the plural, fixing the first rhyme. The second and third stanzas could be corrected by changing prins to the more common form pris. Manuscript N, which contains the only other copy of this poem, does not help in resolving the issue because it gives jardins/prins in the first stanza, pourpris/prist in the second, and advis/prins (as in B) in the third.

Wimsatt notes the highly unusual use of a lyric piece as part of narrative, here and in lines 1365–88 below (FC, pp. 230–31). For Carden, this ballade “inaugurates the collapse of the formal and generic system that has defined the text to this point,” as the poet moves from the model of the dit to one more like the 100B (p. 84).

1244–51 Kelly cites this passage in his argument that the feast of Saint Valentine was not yet linked to February 14 when Chaucer and Granson wrote (Saint Valentine, pp. 68–69). See also the note to 71.63–64.

1247 Que tous oyseaulx veullent chanter. Manuscript N (the only other copy to contain this passage) reads “prennent leur per [choose their mates].” This is the only place outside of 77 “Le Songe Saint Valentin” in which Granson makes any association between Saint Valentine and the birds.

1296 Que j’en seiché comme ung baston. For the expression, see Froissart, Œuvres, 9:280 (on the effects of poisoning on the young Charles V) and Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale, I(A)1362 (on Arcite’s love-sickness). Machaut too uses the verb sechier “to become dry” to describe the effects of desire (PL, Balade XXII, line 3, [1:37] and Balade LXXXVII, line 10 [1:94]; Louange des dames, number 125, line 3 (p. 82) and number 134, line 10 [p. 84]).

1325 ma guignarde. La Guignarde [The Coquette] is the name given to the woman who argues against the strict need for loyalty in 100B. Carden sees a broader allusion to that work in the contrast between the bird-lover’s disloyalty and the absolute fidelity of the narrator (p. 85).

1365–88 For Wimsatt, the comic obtuseness of the narrator here evokes Chaucer’s BD, lines 740–41 (FC, p. 229). For Basso, the narrator’s superficial understanding reflects his rejection of what he might have learned both about the power of language and about the reasons for the ineffectiveness of his own quest from Machaut’s DLA (pp. 155–57). See also the note to lines 1195–1218 above.

1440 En languissant, j’actens vostre vouloir. This is one of several instances in the poem in which the opening line of an inserted lyric also supplies the second line of a couplet, but it is the only one in which the two lines of the couplet are of different length. See the note to 583 above.

1460 partie. See the note to 226 above.

1481 From this point on, manuscript B is the only witness. The generally poor quality of this copy tempts one to emend the text in more than the most obvious ways. We note some of the possibilities below.

1534–1726 The dialogue of the Heart and the Body constitutes virtually another separate dit within the Livre Messire Ode, though it is not marked off from the rest of the text. It begins with a nine-stanza complainte, and it incorporates three rondeaux (marked, like the others in the Livre, as chançons [songs]), the first of which, though attributed to the Body, is about the body and the heart, and the second of which cannot be ascribed to either. As analogues to this episode, Attwood (“Dialectique,” p. 100) cites examples by Charles d’Orléans, René d’Anjou, and François Villon, all of which are later than Granson’s. In this episode, according to Boulton, Granson “attempts to resolve his ambivalent feelings about love, to reconcile the ideal with the actual misery he experiences.” The apparent resolution in favor of love at the end “is illusory, for the poet resumes his reproaches to love immediately upon awakening” (p. 226). For Basso, the splitting of the narrator into two represents the fact that he can only exist outside himself, in the identity that he obtains from another, in contrast to the self-knowledge gained by the narrator of Machaut’s DLA (pp. 152–53).

1613 d’ «amy». See the note to 12.4, above.

1637–38 Manuscript B, the only copy to contain this passage, inserts a speaker marker (Le Corps [“The Body”]) between lines 1637 and 1638. It is unnecessary since the speaker is identified in the text, and we have omitted it rather than supplying the five other speaker markers that would be necessary for consistency.

1654 Au haultain bien des amoureux. Compare line 17.

1679 Comme faisoit Palamidés. See note to lines 1758–66 below.

1680 J’ay fait mon tresor de souhaiz. The manuscript reads “Jay fait mon souhait,” a line that is defective metrically, being three syllables short. In the two places where the scribe indicates the repetition of the refrain, however, he has written “Jay fait mon tresor &c.” Piaget (p. 447) suggests the combined reading “J’ay fait mon tresor de souhaiz” which we adopt here.

1758–66 Palamidés. Palamades, here and in line 1679, is Tristam’s rival for Iseult’s love; see the note to 12.15–16. He first appears in the Prose Tristan in the early thirteenth-century. He is cited elsewhere as an example of devoted suffering, e.g., in 100B, p. 204, but in no known version of the story does he die because of his love, much less by his own consent.

1763–64 Si dit on bien quelque hutin / Piteusement a la parfin. It is tempting to take this couplet as an insertion by a bored or exasperated scribe, for whatever it means, it interrupts the comparison between the speaker and Palamedes. (Hence our parentheses.) Dismissing it, however, does not resolve all of the issues that it poses. Hutin ordinarily means “noise” or “quarrel” (as in 100B, LXIII, line 4), and it sits uncomfortably with the verb dire, “to say,” suggesting that even if it is an insertion, there has been some kind of disruption in the text. Hutin is also the name that is given to the old knight who defends loiauté in 100B in three of the responses appended at the end (pp. 201, 224, 227). Could the original of this line have been another allusion to that earlier work? (Compare the note to line 1325 above.)

1846 qu’esperance. After sans, one would expect to find n’esperance. We retain the manuscript reading, but our translation reflects our understanding of the sense.

1881–91 In manuscript B (the only copy to contain this portion of the poem), these lines appear without any indication of a gap, and so we present them here, though we retain the line numbering from GW. They can be read straight through with no break in the sense, though strictly speaking, one would expect to find the preposition a repeated before la douleur in 1890 if it were part of the sentence that begins in 1883. 1883 and 1885 both lack their rhymes, however, and 1890 suddenly switches from octosyllables to decasyllables. Lines 1890–96, though beginning with three couplets, match the rhyme scheme of the last seven lines of a 10-line stanza like the nine stanzas that immediately follow, (aba)bbccddc. Those stanzas appear to make up a typical complainte, though it is not given a title. Both Piaget and GW assume that at least five lines have been lost here, the rhyming octosyllabic lines for 1883 and 1885 and the three decasyllabic lines at the beginning of the first stanza of the complaint, along with the title with which such lyrics normally begin in the Livre Messire Ode. They thus insert the title, “Complainte,” and they insert lines of dots to replace what they suppose to be missing lines. In their support, one could point not only to the missing preposition but also to the complete abandonment of the image of Danger on his horse in lines 1881–83, to the unusual switch from the past tense to the present that occurs between lines 1883 and 1896, and to the fact that the complaint, with its allusion to “lying slanderers” (line 1916) and to the narrator’s imminent departure (lines 1968–72, a theme that is also picked up in the two lyrics that follow), seems to be part of a different narrative from the one that immediately precedes. One could also cite the evident incompleteness or damage in another stanza of the complaint and in another of the poems that follow; see the notes to lines 1947–66 and 2055–64 below. The apparent gap suggests both that the narrative that begins in lines 1877–81 remains unfinished and that in an early copy, the group of poems that begins with this complaint might have lain apart before becoming attached to this text. And if that is the case, it is impossible to tell how many additional complete stanzas or even complete poems might also have been lost.

Line 1883 does rhyme, however, with 1890 (as here numbered), and the missing rhyme for 1885 could actually be supplied by 1882. In other words, strictly in terms of rhyme, lines 1882–85 could supply the missing three lines (the initial aba) for the ten-line stanza 1882–96 (though again they don’t have the required number of syllables). If that were so, then 1882 would function both as the second line of a couplet (1881–82) and as the opening line (providing the a-rhyme) of the 10-line stanza 1882–96. There are five and perhaps six examples earlier in the poem in which the opening line of a lyric also provides the second line for a couplet; see the note to line 583 above. In one of these, at line 1440, the second line of the couplet (the opening line of the lyric) is longer than preceding line with which it is paired (it is decasyllabic rather than octosyllabic). In none of these, however, does the sentence continue directly from the narrative into the lyric as it does here, and not even in 1440 is the metrical form of the lyric disrupted for even a single line, much less for three. Nonetheless, Granson, who has already shown a willingness to blend narrative into lyric (see the note to lines 1195–1218 above), may here take that blending one step further as he merges his couplets into a typical stanza form.

If that seems less likely an explanation, then the continuity of both sense and rhyme in lines 1881–85 is due either to extraordinary good luck or to an active scribal effort to paper over the incomplete passage at some point in the history of the text. What one decides can affect, or be determined by, how one reads the last two stanzas of the complaint, which pose another set of issues of their own. See the note to lines 1977–96 below.

1907–36 These four stanzas are linked by the continuation of the sentence from one stanza to the next. See 267–96 above and the note to 46.10–11.

1921 n’avoir. After ouir [hear], one would expect ne voir [or see], but we retain the reading of the manuscript.

1939 Though there is no evident gap in the sense, this line is two syllables short, suggesting a loss. Both Piaget and GW insert joieulx before deport.

1947–66 Piaget treats this passage as a single 13-line stanza in the midst of the 10-line stanzas that make up the rest of this complaint. The rhyme scheme, aabbcbccddeed, is not one that Granson (or any other poet that we know) used elsewhere. GW (whose line numbering we retain) presents the last ten lines of this passage as a regular 10-line stanza rhyming (like those that precede and follow) ababbccddc, and she treats the first three lines as the remnants of a defective stanza, lacking a line between 1947 and the line that follows, and lacking six lines before the third surviving line, which, judging from the concatenation of the rhyme and the repetition of the verb in the very next line, appears to be the last line of the stanza. If there is a gap, it is impossible to determine whether lines have been lost or the poet simply never finished writing them.

1974 Regnault. Piaget (p. 153) suggests that “Regnault” may refer to Regnaut de Trie, who provided the first of the responses to the 100B, defending the position of La Guignarde (pp. 201–02). Otherwise, if these names refer to specific real individuals, they are now unknown.

1977–96 Line 1977 introduces 20 lines of past tense narrative in the same stanza form as the narrator’s complaint that precedes. There are other examples of the insertion of lyric within narrative in the Livre Messire Ode (see the note to lines 1195–1218 above), and there are similar switches from present tense to past throughout the Livre, as, for instance, at line 91 and, even more like the present passage, at line 189. But for the switch to narrative within a stanzaic lyric the best precedent is provided by 76 “Complainte de Saint Vallentin Garenson,” in which the transition is marked by a shorter but otherwise identical line, “Ainsi que je me complaingnoie” (89). The final line of the second stanza (1996), with its reference to Saint Valentine’s Day, resembles the final line of that poem and also that of 69 and 71, which similarly set the scene on a particular day; and with the coming of morning and the relief of the narrator’s pain in the lines that precede, it appears to mark a conclusion. But to what? To this particular lyric within the Livre? To the Livre as a whole? Or to what may originally have been a separate poem (more like 76) that happens to have been inserted here? Directly related is the question of whether the coming of morning in line 1988 is meant to mark the end of the dream that begins in line 1881. So is it understood by both Carden (p. 87) and Basso (pp. 148–49), who see the remaining thirteen lyrics as occurring within a final period of wakefulness. Boulton, on the other hand, evidently sees the second dream as incorporating all of the following lyrics, noting, however, that line 1996 “seems to conclude the narrative part of the dit” (pp. 226–27).

1978–86 The voice that the narrator hears here resembles that of lines 555–61, and in both cases we are probably to associate it with Espoir [Hope]; compare lines 78–90.

1996–2501 The thirteen lyrics that conclude the Livre in manuscript B (the only copy that proceeds this far) are not linked by any narrative. Some repeated imagery suggests that they were indeed meant to be part of the same work. Both sections refer to the lady as “princesse” (e.g., lines 139, 375, 990 et al., and in the additional lyrics, lines 1929, 2027, 2250, 2318, 2377); and the references to her as “la meilleur de France [the best woman in France]” (line 1946) and “la non per de France [the one without peer in France]” (lines 2091, 2297) who has “point de pareille en France [no equal in France]” (line 2384) echo line 1594, where she is “non pareille de France [without peer in France].” (In his other poems, Granson addresses his “princesse” only in the envoys to 42, 57, 64, and 66, and nowhere else does he place the lady in France.) The exact relationship between these poems and the preceding narrative is nonetheless difficult to define. The first two refer to the narrator’s imminent departure (lines 2000, 2034–38), a theme that occurs only in the immediately preceding complaint and nowhere else in the Livre (see the note to lines 1881–91 above); while two of the ballades that follow contain references to the narrator dressing in black (lines 2134, 2155; compare 421 et al.), which suggest that they might have been meant to be included in an earlier part of the poem since the debate between the Heart and the Body leads to a resolve to resume dressing in white at line 1689. Other possible recollections of the earlier narrative are far from precise; see the notes to lines 2166 and 2207–13 below. In other respects, this last group of poems differs very little from what precedes. For Boulton, “the lover’s situation remains essentially unchanged, and the lyrics reflect his lack of progress” (p. 228), and for Basso too, “the quest for love thus appears to be a failure” (p. 149). For Carden, who sees the entire group as constituting a final waking scene, following the end of the second dream (see the note to lines 1977–96 above), these final lyrics provide a fit conclusion as they recall and comment upon the preceding elements of the Livre in the authoritative voice of the poet with which the work begins (pp. 87–88).

2042–44 See the note to lines 591–93.

2055–64 If lines 2055–56 belong to the same stanza as the lines that follow, at least two lines lack following line 2056, though there is no indication of a gap in the manuscript. But if they do, then according to the rhyme scheme of the rest of this complaint (ababbccdcd), 2056 should rhyme with line 2059 (as we continue to follow the line numbering in GW), and it does not. One could emend 2056 in order to fix the rhyme, but the stanza would still be two lines short (which GW marks with two lines of dots). It is possible that portions of two separate stanzas (or more) have been lost at this point, unless the poet simply left this portion of the poem unfinished.

2075–84 It is not unusual for Granson to refer to the lady as either a god or a goddess (as in, for instance, lines 2066, 2178, 2191, 2377, and 2393), and twice before he imagines her being courted by the God of Love (38.21–24, 65.25–28). But nowhere else does he suggest that she might make an appropriate mistress for God, much less that He might be prevented from having her.

2108 Car se j’avoie temps, loisir et espace. After si [so] in 2107, one expects que [that] rather than car [for], but we retain the reading of the manuscript.

2134 Et pour cela me tiens vestu de noir. The narrator’s claim to remain dressed in black, here and in line 2155, contradicts his resolution to set aside his black clothes for white in 1688–89, suggesting that this and other of these final lyrics might originally have been intended for inclusion earlier in the poem.

2143 Par ung reffuz assez prés du fossé. We offer a literal translation, not at all sure of exactly what is meant. Fosse (rather than fossé, which is required by the rhyme) might mean “a grave” (see Godefroy, Dictionnaire, vol. 9 [Supplement]), preparing line 2145, but the construction is still puzzling.

2155 Las! je suis en dueil vestu de noir. See the note to line 2134.

2166 Guion pieça le vous feist assavoir. This line might possibly refer to the episode described in lines 520–32, though the messenger (the narrator’s servant) is not there named.

2206–13 This stanza recalls both the episode in lines 1024–50 and the debate between Heart and Body in lines 1534–1726, but it does not correspond in detail to either.

2323 Vostre esloingner me fait mortel traveil. We retain the reading of the manuscript here, though we know of no other use of eloingner as a noun, and there is no other reference in the poem to the woman departing. Vous eloingner [departing from you] is just as good metrically and would better suit the context.

2326 Et se m’aist Dieux que je vous serviray. For the construction (se m’aist Dieux followed by que), compare lines 2075, 2290.

2336 mieulx. Our emendation here (mieulx for mienne) is greater than what we have normally allowed ourselves, but it appears to be compelled by both grammar and sense. Mienne, the feminine form of the possessive pronoun “mine,” is grammatically redundant since the object of the first person verb verray is already provided by vous. Its referent is also unclear: the only nearby feminine noun is Amour, which is being used as a vocative, however, to refer to the lady herself, not to the narrator’s emotional state. Mieux (“better”) poses no such problems, and it completes the thought, though it may not remove all of the challenges in this stanza. The referent of le (“it”) in the next line is still somewhat obscure, and the clause that follows presents a rather unusual image.

2342–2448 This passage is headed (in the one manuscript that contains it) “Complainte.” It begins, however, with three 10-line stanzas rhyming ababbccdcd and ending in the same line, thus matching the form of a ballade with its refrain. The remaining seven stanzas contain eleven lines, rhyming aabaabbcbbc (a stanza form that Granson uses elsewhere only in the complaint in lines 2230–2317). There is, however, no break in the sense between stanzas three and four. GW divides the passage into two poems, inserting the title “Ballade” before line 2342 and “Complainte” before line 2372. We present it here as it appears in the manuscript.

2399 Et se j’ay la puce en l’oreille?. This proverbial expression can evidently mean both “to be afflicted with desire” (Rey, Dictionnaire historique), as suggested by the preceding lines, and “to lie awake” (Greimas, Moyen), as suggested by the lines that follow.

2457–59 See the note to lines 591–93.

2486 Celle. French celle can function either as subject or as object; in English, we are unable to maintain the consistency of the refrain as we must choose between she and her. The difference in the function of the pronoun between lines 2486 and 2498 also requires a change in the punctuation of the refrain in both languages.


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.

GW91, Piaget p. 383.
Base MS: B. Other MSS: G (lines 702–833), J (lines 1–326, 872–966, 994–1089), N (lines 1–1480), O (lines 1–32, 617–57, 762–815, 917–54, 1066–1114).

Title Le Livre Messire Ode. Supplied by Piaget. No manuscript authority.
45 q’un. So N. B: qum.
63 nesq’un. So N. B: nesqum.
117–58 Plus n’en diray . . . je soye. So N. B: lacks (42 lines, the equivalent of one average manuscript page).
122 desroye. N: desroyr. J: desiouyz.
159 B resumes.
172 obeir. So J, N. B: obeiz.
179 Riens qui. So J, N. B: Bien que.
187 laisser. J: laiser. N: laissier. B: laissez.
192 Enceint. So N. J: ensaint. B: Au saint.
198 Enceint d’arbres. So N. J: ensains darbres. B: enceinr dabres.
200 desduisoient. So J, N. B: desduiroient.
206 Blanches. So J, N. B: Blandes.
216 Affin que mieulx m’en sovenist. So J, N. B: lacks.
217 Complainte. So J. B, N: lacks.
222 clains. So N. J: clame. B: clamy.
225 me. So J, N. B: lacks.
239 plours et. So J, N. B: plus en.
245 duray. B, J, N: diray.
249 douleur me. So J, N. B: doulce.
261 doulceur. So J, N. B: douleur.
265 Dy et diray ou que soye, en tous lieux. So J, N. B: lacks.
270 Pourtant souvent en penser me resveille. So J, N. B: Pour pensay maintesfoiz m’a resveillay.
277 De la servir, honnourer et doubter. So J. N: De la cherir, obeir, crainte, et doubter. B: De la cherir, prandre, craindre, obeir, doubter.
303 ordonner. So J, N. B: ordonnez.
309 souffrist. So J. B: souffrir.
329 tres liement. So N. B: treslierment.
332 Chançon. J: Ballade. B, N: lacks.
349 osillon. So N. B: orillon.
361 S’il vous plaist, lire la pourrez. So N. B: lacks.
394 Et doint a tous vrays amoureux. So N. B: lacks.
395 la. So N. B: de.
509 Pis. So N. B: Puis.
517 Affin que cesse ma doulour. So N. B: lacks.
556 voix. So N. B: foiz.
574 Me. So N. B: Ne.
589 racourcer. So N. B: recommancier.
613 ne m’en. So N. B: n’en.
628 descort. So N, O. B: desconfort.
632 corner. So N, O. B: cornes.
655 finent. So N, O. B: furent.
718 donne. So G, N. B: donnay.
726 Ayez pitié de ma clamour. So N. B, G: lacks.
744 Est. So G, N. B: Et.
763 enduréz. So N, O. B: endurer.
767 le. So G, N, O. B: la.
778 Garyr. B, G, N, O: Gary.
795 Seray. So G, N, O. B: Seroye.
798 N’ay. So G, N, O. B: Ne.
811–14 Je sens . . . doibt souffire. So N (very similar in G and O). B: lacks.
835 enregistré. So N. B: enregistray.
840–41 Lors pensay . . . ramantevoir. So N. B: Pour ma douleur ramantevoir / Me sembla que la veyre ne oir.
842 s’il. So N. B: il.
878 conseiller. So J, N. B: conseillez.
888 laisser. So N. B: laissez.
917 vint. So J, N, O. B: vient.
949 Et Souvenir, le vaillant champion. So J, N, O. B: Et avec lui Reffus, son compagnon.
960 Aprouche. So J, N. B: Apresse.
l’auront. So N. B: auront.
981 accorder. So N. B: agorder.
1006 suyt. So J, N. B: fait.
1009 me. So J, N. B: ne.
1019 fort. So J, N. B: fors.
1037 Garder. So J, N. B: Gardez.
1058 ne pourroye. So J, N. B: ne me pourroye.
1070 deshonnoré. So J, N, O. B: deshonnoray.
1083–84 Et a mon cueur . . . ce party. These two lines are reversed in B, spoiling both rhymes.
prose sire de Cornoaille. So N, O. B: lacks.
prose de mon cuer. So N, O. B: lacks.
prose celle qui. So N, O. B: lacks.
prose les. So N. B: vous.
1145 desconforter. So N. B: reconfortez.
1162 mercyoye. So N. B: mercyroye.
1190 se sçavoir. So N. B: ce savez.
1224 Enfermé dedans le jardin. So N. B: lacks.
1233 me plaisoit. So N. B: le plairoit.
1247 veullent chanter. So B. N: prennent leur per.
1256 chetis. So N. B: conquis.
1278 m’avint. So N. B: n’avint.
1299 Je viz ung tiercellet venir. So N. B: lacks.
1306 festoioyent. So N. B: festoient.
1325 guignardie. So N. B: grinardie.
1350 pourroye. So N. B: pouvoie.
1373 Nous. So N. B: Ne.
1384 diroye. So N. B: disoie.
1396 celle. So N. B: celles.
1420 qu’Espoir. So N. B: lacks.
1423 Espoir. So N. B: espouoir.
1443, 1455 gens. So N. B: sens.
1513 se. B: ceulx.
1521 tout. B: tous.
1535 Corps. B: Cueur.
Cueur. B: Corps.
1541 pensee. B: penser.
1546 De. B: lacks.
1567 qui. B: quen.
1575 y. B: luy.
1578 et tousjours. B: et tousjours et toujours.
1587 puet. B: point.
1591 luy pleust vous. B: vous pleust luy.
1608 retournray. B: retourray.
1617 recevrez. B: recevray.
1620 vous. B: me.
1625 savez. B: savoir.
1638 B: Le Corps (speaker marker, omitted here).
1645 Ne. B: Ne le.
1680 J’ay fait mon tresor de souhaiz. B: Jai fait mon souhait.
1686, 1692 J’ay fait mon tresor de souhaiz. B: Jay fait mon tresor &c.
1707 Luy. B: Leur.
1720 Endurons. B: En duron.
1721 En presentant. B: Presentement.
1728 enregistré. B: enregistray.
1735 travaillier. B: travailliez.
1749 souffrir. B: souffrez.
1771 qu’est. B: est.
1781 desplaisir. B: plaisir.
1799 desplaisoit. B: desplairoit.
1807 Qu’en. B: Que on.
1821 a fin. B: affin.
1823 desplaise. B: desplaire.
1838 peust. B: pleust.
1859 vivre. B: livre.
1862 nulle autre. B: autre nulle.
1867 non. B: nom.
1978 passer. B: passez.
1988 lever. B: la lever.
2019 de comforter. B: descomforter.
2031 ferez. B: fera.
2032reconfort. B: lacks.
2065 Plus. B: puis.
2083 ne l’en. B: le ne len.
2114 scet. B: scay.
2153 desesperé. B: desesperee.
2170 Qu’autre. B: quentre.
2172 amer. B: amez.
2173 avoye. B: savoye.
2198 Pouoir. B: pouez.
2221 Et. B: lacks.
2228 m’avez. B: ma vous.
2237 despourveu. B: despourveue.
2253 tousjours devant. B: devant tousjours.
2258 n’a. B: nay.
2266 veillant. B: vueillant.
2305 qui. B: quil.
2311 lauguis. B: languir.
2336 mieulx. B: mienne.
2341 souleil. B: sommeil.
2344 me. B: ne.
2361 mal que. B: mal de que.
2363 definer. B: desiner.
2387 Me font. B: ne fait.
2409 Ne. B: Je.
2416 plust. B: plus.
2419 elle. B: elles.
2425 me. B: ne me.
2428 si. B: sa.
2438 peusse. B: pense.
2456 folle. B: folie.
2461 Seulle. B: semble.
2469 Chançon. B: lacks.
2486 Chançon. B: lacks.

Print Copyright Info

78. Le Livre Messire Ode













































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































78. Le Livre Messire Ode

Je vueil ung livre commencier
Et a ma dame l’envoyer,
Ainsi que je lui ay promis,
Ou seront tous mes faiz escripz.
Non pas tous, maiz une partie
Diray de ma mellencolie.
Amours, par vostre bon vouloir,
Vous a pleu moy faire savoir
Que je choisisse une maistresse.
Choisy l’ay plaine de jeunesse,
De biens, de beaulté acomplie,
De doulceurs et de chiere lie.
Son regard est doulx a merveille.
Sur toutes est la non pareille,
Et pour ce l’ay voulu choisir,
Esperant que deusse advenir
Au haultain bien des amoreux.
Maiz trop me trouve angoisseux
Par hardement de trop parler,
Car dit luy ay tout mon penser,
Cuidant qu’il m’en deust estre mieulx.
Mais Reffuz, le tresenvieulx,
Est contre moy de sa puissance.
Dangier d’autre costé s’avance
Et y est quant g’y doy venir.
Lors ne sçay je que devenir.
Quant a elle cuide parler,
Emprés elle huche Dangier,
Et Reffuz est d’autre cousté.
En ce point suis je gouverné.
Adoncq je n’ose plus mot dire.
Maiz plus me plaist son escondire
Que d’avoir tous les autres biens
Du monde qui point ne sont miens.
Jusqu’a la mort la veuil servir
Et toutes errieres bannir
De moy pour elle seulement.
Sien en vueil estre ligament,
A la servir de cuer et d’ame,
Loyaulment, comme seulle dame
Et maistresse de mon vouloir.
En ce point je veuil remanoir,
Ne jamaiz ne m’en vueil lasser
Pour nul que j’en puisse endurer,
Esperant q’un temps qui vendra
Sa voulenté retournera
Et aura pitié de mes plains
Et de mes maulx dont je me plains.
Maiz l’actente me fait languir
Et trespiteusement fenir
Par Desir, qui m’art et enflamble.
Souvenir avec lui s’assemble.
Penser me font a sa beaulté,
Et par ces deux suis gouverné.
Devant me prennent et derriere.
Perdre me font souvant maniere.
Je pense quant deusse parler.
Je ne puis boire ne menger,
Tant suis de s’amour entrepris.
Amours, pour quoy me suis je prins
A desirer ung si grant bien?
Ma mort vueil et pour mort me tien.
Je ne vaulx nesq’un homme mort,
Car homme qui est sans confort
Ou monde ne peult riens valoir.
Helas! ou est allé Espoir
Qui m’a promis moy conforter?
Il ne me devoit point laissier.
Ainsi le m’avoit il promis.
C’est le meilleur de mes amys.
Je sçay bien, quant il revendra,
Qu’a moy tresfort il tancera
De moy ainsi desesperer,
Maiz je ne sçay quel tour tourner,
Tant me destraint ma maladie.
Je suis en mortel resverie,
Et croy que je feusse ja mort,
Ne feust ung poy de reconfort
Qui par Espoir m’est venu dire
Que j’ay tort de moy desconfire
Ne de mener si dure fin,
Ne d’estre a desespoir enclin.
Et dit, se je puis endurer,
Ma douleur verray retourner
En joye bien prochainement,
Et que des biens treslargement
J’auray d’Amours, quoy que nul die.
Loyaulté me sera amye
Et m’aydera a avenir
Au treshault bien que je desir.
Et ainsi comme je pensoye
Et en espoir me confortoye,
Je m’allay sur ung lit gecter
Pour moy ung petit reposer,
Et meiz peine de moy dormir,
Maiz je ne poz, pour Souvenir,
Dormir ne reposer vrayement.
Et lors que je meiz mon pensement
A commancier une ballade,
Et la fiz comme homme malade
Et enregistray en mon livre,
Et, s’il vous plaist, la povez lire


Desconforté de joye et de leesse,
Raemply de dueil et de plains doloreux,
Triste, pensif, desgarny de leesse,
Desesperé de tormens amoureux,
Tout esloingné de tous plaisirs joyeulx,
Maintenant, plus que je ne pourroye dire,
De tous tormens suis accueilly du pire.
Actains me truiz de douleur et de rage.
Sans franchise me suis trouvé en servage,
Tant que j’en sens mon cueur ardoir et frire.
De plus en plus ay de maulx l’eritage.
J’ay le rebours de ce que je desire.

Souffreteux suis en ma jeune jeunesse
De ce qu’amant doit estre desireux.
Plus n’en diray, bien sçay ce qui me blesse.
Dolant seroye d’estre si maleureux
Que chascun sceust mon meschief ennuyeux,
Dont j’ay trop plus que ne pourroye escripre.
Ung seul chemin desroye mon couraige,
Me fait languir et passer ce passaige.
Qu’en dictez vous? Me doibt il bien souffire?
Qu’en diray plus? En la fleur de mon eage,
J’ay le rebours de ce que je desire.

Dangier m’assault, Reffuz me nuyt et blece.
Ung jour je suis trop merencolieux
Et l’autre jour Espoir me fait promesse
Que maugré tous, il me fera joyeux.
En ce maintain me fault devenir vieux.
Contre Fortune nul ne puet contredire,
Soit droit, soit tort, soit plaisance ou martire.
Plaisant folye m’a gardé d’estre saige.
Riens ne m’y vault, escu, pavas ne targe.
Bien suis gardé de chanter ne de rire,
Tant que j’en diz a haulte voix par rage:
«J’ay le rebours de ce que je desire.»

Jeune et gente, ma tresbelle princesse,
De garison ne quier chemin n’adresse
Se non par vous qui estez mon droit mire.
Alegez moy de tous mes maulx du pire.
Et ne souffrez que die plus par rudesse,
«J’ay le rebours de ce que je desire.»

Quant j’euz ma balade achevee
Et en mon livre enregistree,
Je reprins a mener mon dueil,
Disant a Amours: «Dessus le sueil
Je suis de l’Ostel de Tristesse.
Dangier m’assault, Reffuz me blece.
Contre eulx je ne me puis deffendre.
Pieça a eulx m’eust falu rendre
Ne fust Espoir qui me conforte.
De bien servir tousjours m’enhorte,
Mais mon mal si fort me constraint
Et de douleur suis si estraint
Que durer gueres ne pourroye.
Amours, fault il que je soye
Banny du Danjon de Leesse,
Moy qui suis en fleur de jeunesse?
Ayez pitié de ma douleur
Et de ma piteuse clameur.
Ne souffrez que je soye deffait
Quant pour vous ay empris ce fait.
Envoyez Pitié et Humblesse
Hastivement vers ma maistresse
Luy prier qu’a moy secourir
Il luy plaise, par son plaisir,
Car oncques serviteurs, par m’ame,
Ne servy plus loyaulment dame
Que j’ay vouloir de la servir
En tous estaz, et obeir
A tous ses bons commandemens.
C’est mon dieu; a elle m’atens
De moy faire vivre ou mourir
Ou trespiteusement languir,
Lequel que bon lui semblera.
Car mon cueur ne contredira
Riens qui d’elle soit ordonné.
En ce point est ma voulenté.
Et se je meurs en la servant,
De mon ame luy faiz presant.
Je ne luy ay plus que donner.
Dame des dames, seulle sans per,
Vostre serf suis et serf me tien.
Regardez se vous ferez bien
De moy ainsi laisser fenir
Par faulte de moy secourir.»
Ainsi que m’aloye complaignant
Et ma douleur ramantevant
Comme ung homme en resverie,
Enceint de dure maladie,
Someil me prist, si m’endormy.
En mon dormant, ung songe fy,
Et en mon songe me sembloit
Qu’emprés moy ung jardin avoit
Bel et plaisant et gracieux,
Enceint d’arbres, couvert de fleurs.
Es arbres les oyseaulx chantoient,
Et en leur chant se desduisoient.
Le lieu estoit bel a merveilles.
Les chemins estoient de treilles,
Et entre deux, de pavillons.
Et de parquez, carréz et bellons,
Avoit assez, plains de flouretes,
Blanches, yndes et vermeilletes.
De preaux praslez d’erbe vert
Estoit tout le chemin couvert.
La m’allay, ce me fut advis,
Mectre en lieu ou mieulx je choisiz
Qu’on ne me peust aparcevoir
Pour mieulx mon dueil ramantevoir.
Et la recommançay ma plaincte,
Et fez, en façon de complaincte,
Une qu’ay cy mis en escript
Affin que mieulx m’en sovenist.


Mon dieu, ma dame, ma maistresse,
A vous me plains de ma tresgrant ardour
Du mal d’amer qui si tresmal me blesse
Et ja tenu m’a long temps en langour.
Et me complain, plain de douleur et plour,
A vous, maistresse, que je clains plus qu’amye
Et clameray tous les jours de ma vie.
Confortez moy que j’aye allegement.
Du tout me mect en vostre jugement:
Jugiez de moy comme juge et partie.

Et se me plains et tourmente et crie,
Pardonnez moy, je vous prie humblement,
Car j’ay ung mal qui si tresfort me lie
Qu’avoir leesse ne pourroye nullement
Ne reconfort qui m’aide aucunement
A conforter mon ennuy doloreux.
Que vous diray? Je suis si angoisseux,
Je ne viz mie; je ne foiz que languir.
Si vous supplie, quant me fauldra fenir,
Priez pour moy, s’il vous plaist, amoureux.

Et faictes duel, tous jeunes cuers joyeux,
Que pour amer et servir loyaulment
Fault que deffine en plours et plains piteux,
Et sans avoir secours aucunement
Fors que d’Espoir, qui dit certainement
Qu’i m’aidera a oster le martire
Que mon cuer sent. Maiz il n’est q’un seul mire
Qui mon courroux peust mectre a plaisant vueil.
Pour ce duray, tout en menant mon duel.
Qu’en puis je maiz se je me tiens de rire?

Et se je faiz semblant d’avoir grant ire,
Si poise moy, si m’en peusse tenir.
Maiz ma douleur me va de pire en pire.
Pour ce me fault souspirer et gemir.
En languissant voy qu’il me fault finir,
Et dit mon cueur qu’en langueur finera
Et que du tout leesse laissera.
Maiz ains qu’il meure, diray a ma maistresse:
«Dame sans per, pour vous laisse leesse.
Faictes de moy tout ce qu’il vous plaira.

«Qu’a tousjours maiz mon vouloir si sera
De vous servir, en ce point est mon vueil,
Ne jamaiz jour ne s’en despartira,
En esperant que vostre riant oeil
Et la doulceur de vostre bel acueil
Aient pitié de mon piteux tourment.
Mes griefz douleurs passeray simplement,
Et en chantant ung chant tresdoloreux,
Dy et diray ou que soye, en tous lieux,
Je sui tousjours en vo commandement.»

Bien estre y doy, sans faire changement,
Du tout en tout, comme a la nom pareille
D’onneur, de bien, de plaisance ensement.
Pourtant souvent en penser me resveille,
Et en pensant souvent je me merveille
De la douleur que me fait endurer,
Veu que pieça luy ay voulu donner
Mon cueur, mon corps, sans faire departie.
A la servir mect tout mon estudie.
C’est mon vouloir, c’est mon loyal penser:

De la servir, honnourer et doubter
A tousjours maiz, tant que j’auray duree.
La clameray, sans nulle autre excepter,
Dame et maistresse et de moy seulle amee.
En ce vouloir feray ma destinee,
En esperant qu’en puisse valoir mieulx.
De plus en plus je vueil estre soingneux
De la servir de toute ma puissance.
En actendant que j’en aye allegrance,
Suis et seray adés plus envieulx

Que puisse faire son vouloir en tous lieux,
Tant que son vueil me vueille retenir
Son serviteur. Lors doubleront mes jeux
Et tornera desplaisance en plaisir.
Ja a grant temps que ne faiz que languir
Et que pieça suis en telle langour
En actendant que, par sa grant doulceur,
Elle me vueille aucun confort donner.
Sans despartir, tousjours la vueil clamer
Mon tresdoulx cueur et ma loyalle amour.

Soiez piteuse et plaine de doulceur,
Dame sans per, de tous biens acomplie.
Aiez pitié de la tresgrant ardour
Du mal d’amours qui ainsi fort me lie.
Venez vers moy dire: «Je te deslie.»
Autre que vous ne me peult conforter.
De moy povez a vo gré ordonner.
Ja a grant temps que je suis en servage
Tant que j’en pers force, couleur, et langage.
En soupirant me souhaide en la mer!

Dictes s’ay tort de moy desconforter
Et en plourant, de maudire ma vie.
Car oncq amant ne souffrist tel amer
Comme je faiz. Je ne sçay que je die!
A vous me rens; ne me desertés mie!
Mon cueur, mon corps, du tout je vous presente,
Piteusement, loing de joyeuse sente.
Treshumblement je vous viens requerir
Que me vueillez vo servant retenir,
Tresbelle, bonne, jeune, joyeuse, gente.

Ma complaincte ne puis plus soustenir,
A dire vray, que la mort si me chasse
Tresardanment, maiz je me vueil tenir
Garny d’Espoir, lui priant qu’il pourchasse
Envers ma dame mon bien, et qu’il deschasse
Du tout en tout de moy la desplaisance.
Ravy je suis sans avoir soustenance.
Je ne sçay plus que puisse devenir.
Tout gemissant et plain d’ardant desir,
En souppirant, j’ay delaissié plaisance.

Ainsi que ma plainte escripsoie
Et en mon livre la mectoye,
Je viz venir tres liement
Ung qui chantoit joyeusement.
De sa chanson les diz estoient:


Je me doy bien tenir en joye,
Quant je voy chascun souffreteux
Et des bien d’Amours douloreux,
Moy qui ay ce que desiroie.

Souhaidier mieulx je ne pourroye.
Je passe les autres eureux.
Je me doy bien tenir en joye,
Quant je voy chascun souffreteux.

Je souhaide que je vouldroie
A trestous loyaulx amoreux
Dames pour les faire joyeulx.
Tant qu’est a moy, ou que je soye,

Je me doy bien tenir en joye,
Quant je voy chascun souffreteux
Et des bien d’Amours douloreux,
Moy qui ay ce que desiroie.

Aprés qu’il eust dit sa chançon,
Il escouta ly osillon
Qui chantoient tresdoulcement.
C’estoit ung grant esbatement.
Et se print a faire ung chappel
Qui fut, ce me semble, tresbel,
Car assez eut de quoy le faire.
De fleurs y avoit mainte paire.
Sur sa teste tantost le mist
Et puis sur l’erbe s’assist
Et commença une balade.
Faicte n’estoit d’omme malade.
La balade ycy trouverez.
S’il vous plaist, lire la pourrez.


Je mercy Amours et ma dame
Qui me tiennent en tel leesse,
Car ung seul desplaisir, par m’ame,
N’ay en moy de nulle tristesse.
Je ne sens douleur ne detresse.
Des amans suis le plus eureux.
Qu’est ce que d’estre douloreux?
Quant a moy, je ne le sçay mie,
Mais d’esbatre suis tressoingneux.
Je n’ay nulle autre maladie.

Pour ce escript sera sur ma lame
Quant Mort sera de moy maistresse
Que loyaulment, sans nul diffame,
Ay servy tousjours ma princesse
Trestous les temps de ma jeunesse,
Sans estre de mal angoysseux
Et de nulle riens envieux.
Jugiez: n’ay je pas bonne vie
D’estre tousjours ainsi joyeulx?
Je n’ay nulle autre maladie.

Se plaigne qui veult et se clame
De Dangier, Reffuz et Destresse.
Je ne les loe ne les blasme,
Car point ilz ne me font de presse.
Bel Acueil conduit ma deesse,
Doulx Regard gouverne ses yeulx,
Et mes amys y sont tous deux.
La loyaulté n’est point faillie.
Doy je pas bien dire en tous lieux:
Je n’ay nulle autre maladie?

Prince amoureux, Dieu gard mon ame
Et mon corps des faulx envieux,
Et doint a tous vrays amoureux
De plaisance la seigneurie,
Car, quant a moy, se m’aist Dieux,
Je n’ay nulle autre maladie.

A son semblant, il n’estoit mie
Assailly de mellencolie
Ainsi que suis pour le present.
Car s’il y vint joyeusement,
Il s’en va plus joyeulx assez.
De mener joye n’est lassez.
Il ne craint maladie ne mort.
En s’en allant s’efforçoit fort
De chanter, maiz tost fust en bois,
Entendre ne pouoie sa voix.
Lors reprains ma douleur a plaindre
Piteusement et sans me faindre
De crier a Amours mercy
Et a ma belle dame aussi.
        Maiz je ne sçay qu’ilz en feront,
Ne se de moy mercy aront.
Ilz me peuent de tous poins deffaire
Ou en pou d’eure me reffaire,
Lequel que bon leur semblera,
Car mon vouloir ne changera
Pour mal que je puisse endurer.
Et, pour mieulx semblant demonstrer
Que trop m’est dure ma penance,
Vestu de noir, par desplaisance,
Me suis, sans prendre autre couleur,
Jusques a tant que ma douleur
Cessera et viengne en leesse
Pour le vouloir de ma maistresse.
Et tant suis de mon deuil content
Et me plaist tant en me blessant,
Quant je pençay que c’est pour celle
Qui sur toutes est depareille.
«Adoncq, dy je a par moy, amis,
N’es-tu content de t’estre mis
A celle ou tous biens habonde,
Fleur de beaulté de tout le monde?
Par bien servir tu advendras

Aux biens que tu demanderas.»
Ainsi me sert une heure Espoir.
L’autre me quert sus Desespoir.
Desir m’assault et me fait guerre.
Souvenir souvant me fait braire
Et dire: «Helas! quant reverray je
Ma dame, ne quant parleray je
A sa plaisant belle beaulté?
Mes yeulx seront en obscurté
Et piteusement languiray
Jusques ad ce que la verray.
Quant y seray, ce sçay je bien,
Son vouloir ne sera le mien.
Ainsi ne sçay je lequel faire
D’y aler ou de moy retraire.»
        Lors pensay que je escriproye
Et que mes lectres lui envoyroie.


Mon dieu, ma dame, ma maistresse,
A vostre tresplaisant jeunesse
Me recommande autant de foiz
Que l’on pourroit mectre de poix
L’ung sur l’autre jusques aux cieulx,
Tresdesirant de bien en mieulx
Oyr de voz doulces nouvelles,
Priant Dieu qu’elles soient telles
Que vous soyez tousjours en joye,
Car ainsi le desireroye.
Et s’il vous plaist de vostre humblesse,
Oyr ma piteuse destresse,
Vueillez sçavoir, ma redoubtee
Et ma dame tresbien amee,
Que mon cueur ne fait que languir,
Plaindre, plourer, souvant gemir,
Tant ay mis mon vueil fermement
A vous servir tresloyaulment
De cueur, de corps et de pensee.
Si vous supply, ma seule amee,
Que soit vostre doulx plaisir
De moy faire ung pou rejoir.
Si chanteray treslieement.
Je vueil chanter joyeusement
Et monstrer par joyeulx semblant
Que j’ay espoir d’avoir leesse
Et que, du gré de ma maistresse,
J’auray des biens treslargement.
Faictes moy de mercy present,
Belle et douce bien acomplie.
Faictes moy faire chiere lie.
Nulle que vous n’en a pouoir.
Faictes moy devestir le noir
Et me revestés de leesse.
Ne me souffrez plus en tristesse.
Remectez en joye mes plains.
A vous seule servant me clains,
Vous suppliant treshumblement
Que me tenez vostre servant.
Lors auray de richesse assez,
Car jamaiz ne seray lasséz
De vous cherir, servir et craindre.
Jamaiz nul jour ne me vueil faindre
D’acomplir vostre bon vouloir,
Vous faisant, ma dame, savoir
Qu’il me semble qu’auriés tort
De souffrir que j’eusse la mort,
Vous qui me povez secourir.
Or en faictes vostre plaisir,
Car se je muir, je dy, par m’ame,
Car c’est pour la plus belle dame
Qui marchast oncques dessus terre.
Pour Dieu, ne vous vueille desplaire,
Mon dieu, ma dame, mon seul mire,
Se m’enhardiz de vous escripre.
Je ne sçay si m’en avendra
Pis ou mieulx, lequel ce sera.
Et pour ce plus pour le present
Ne vous escripz de mon torment,
Maiz je prie Dieu de tresbon cueur
Que joye, santé et honneur
Vous doint et des biens a largesse,
Et voulenté que vostre humblesse
Si ait pitié de ma clamour,
Affin que cesse ma doulour.
Escript au lieu que vous dira
Cellui qui les vous portera.

Quant j’euz toute ma lectre dicte,
Close, seellee et escripte,
Je pensay que je l’envoyroye
Tout au plus tost que je pourroye
Vers ma dame hastivement.
Lors appellay tout maintenant
Ung mien tresloyal serviteur
Que j’aymoie de tout mon cueur,
Qui autrefoiz avoit esté
Vers celle ou est ma voulenté,
Et lui diz que tantost alast
Vers ma dame, et se hastast
Bien a haste de retourner,
Et s’a elle pouoit parler,
Qu’il luy requist treshumblement
Qu’amaindrir voulsist mon tourment
Et abaisier mes piteux plains
Et la douleur ou je remains.
Mon serviteur de moy partist
Et lui diz qu’il luy souvenist
De ce que dit je luy avoie.
Adonc print a aller sa voye
La ou il s’en devoit aler.
Seul demouray en mon vergier
Et a par moy diz: «Beaulx doulx dieux,
Seray je courroucé ou joyeulx?
Auray je joye ou desplaisir?
Hé, Dieu, quant pourra il venir?
J’ay espoir qu’il m’apportera
Nouvelle qui bien me plaira.
Seroit bien ma dame piteuse
De ma douleur tresangoisseuse?
Hé! plust a Dieu qu’il feist ainsi!
Amours, ayez de moy mercy!
Secourez moy a ceste foiz!»
Lors entrouuay auprés d’ung bois
Une voix, si me fut advis,
Qui me dist: «Beau, doulx amys,
Chante et mect peine de guerir,
Car je te dy, et sans mentir,
Que de ta dame auras grant bien
Et te retendra pour le sien.»
Plus n’en dist; ne sçay ou alla.
Maiz je sçay bien que de cela
Je me tins ung pou resjouy.
Maiz tantost qu’il se fut party,
Desespoir revint par derriere
Pour moy faire changer maniere.
Et lors ne sceuz je plus que dire.
Trop fut doloreux mon martire.
        Ha, dame, fault il que je soye
Bouté hors de l’Ostel de Joye,
Par bien servir, par fort amer
Vostre belle beaulté sans per?
Me lairez vous par desespoir
Si longuement vestu de noir
User tous les temps de ma vie?
Ha, Mort, fay de moy departie.
Ma douleur m’est trop ennuyeuse
Et trop durement angoisseuse.
        Moy plaignant, feiz une chanson
Dont j’ay escript cy la fachon,
Maiz point ne l’ay voulu chanter.


Je ne sçay plus que demander
Quant riens ne me voulez donner.
Ma demande ne vauldroit riens.
Deserté je suis de tous biens
Aujourd’uy plus que devant yer.

Mon dueil se prent a efforcer
Et ma joye a racourcer.
Pitié ne veult estre des miens.
Je ne sçay plus que demander
Quant riens ne me voulez donner.
Ma demande ne vauldroit riens.

Ne me laissez desesperer,
Maiz me vueillez reconforter.
A vous seulle servant me tiens,
Et humblement requerir viens
Mort ou mercy, pour m’abregier.

Je ne sçay plus que demander
Quant riens ne me voulez donner.
Ma demande ne vauldroit riens.
Deserté je suis de tous biens,
Aujourd’uy plus que devant yer.

Mieulx vault taire que folie dire
Je me sçay bien tenir de rire
De ce que j’ay dit mon vouloir
A celle qui a le pouoir
De remectre mon cueur en joye.
Maiz je suis plus que ne souloie,
Pensifz et mellencolieux
Depuis que lui diz mes douleurs.
Maiz je cuidoie le mieulx faire.
Or ne m’en puis je retraire
        Ainsi que menoye tel fin,
Plain de lermes, le chief enclin,
Vy entrer dedans le vergier
Ung jeune joliz escuier
Qui durement se complaignoit
Et bien douloreux ressembloit.
Et disoit en façon de plainte:
«Amours, je seuffre douleur mainte.
Jadiz soloye chanter et rire,
Et Douleur me veult desconfire
A tort et sans nulle achoison.
Ceuffreres vous tel desraison,
Moy qui vous serfz si loyaulment?
Vostre hostel vauldroit piz vrayement
Se j’avoye descort a Leesse.
Amours, remectez a l’adresse
Ma dame de moy secourir.
Lors me verrez bien resjouir
Et faire corner menestrelz.
Amours, je vous supply, souffrez
Que de vous aye allegement.»
Ainsi qu’il s’alloit complaignant
Vint a luy une damoiselle,
Jeune, gente, jolie et belle,
Et luy dist: «Ma dame m’envoye
Vous dire que soyez en joye.
Or sus, avecques moy venez
Et plus ne vous desconfortez.»
Moult doulcement la mercya
Et avecques elle s’en ala.
Et moy, que demouré tout seul,
Recommençay mon piteux duel,
Disant, «Amours, vous despartés
Des biens largement et assez
A tout le monde fors qu’a moy.
Helas! si ne sçay je pourquoy.
Je ne cuide avoir forfait,
Envers vous riens ne meffait
Dont je deusse avoir tel peine
Qu’il n’est heure en la sepmaine
Que mon mal ne voise en croissant.
Mes jours finent en languissant.
Ha! Mort, venez! A vous me rens!»
Lors ou vergier entra dedans
Mon serviteur, secretement,
Et me salua humblement.
Si luy demanday, «Quelz nouvelles?»
Il me dist que bonnes et belles:
Que ma dame me saluoit
Et que mes lectres prins avoit
Et fait lui avoit bonne chiere.
Mais Dangier si estoit derriere
Qu’a elle parler ne pouvoit
Ne luy dire ce qu’il vouloit,
Fors seulement au despartir,
Luy dist que se vouloie venir
En ung lieu ou empris avoye,
Que d’elle bonne chiere aroye.
Plus a elle il ne parla.
Congié print et s’en retourna.
Quant il ot dit tout son rapport,
Adonc le conjuray tresfort
Qu’il me dist qui lui en sembloit
Et se bien ou mal me vouloit.
Lors me jura par son serement
Qu’il luy est adviz que vrayement
Que j’aroye une foiz sa grace.
Dieu vueille que ainsi se face
Que sa grace puisse acquerir.
C’est tout le bien que je desir.
Et se une foiz la puis avoir,
Je feray mon loyal devoir
De la servir si loyaulment
De cueur, de corps, de pensement,
Qu’oncques dame ne fut cherie,
Craincte, doubtee ne servie
Ainsi que je la serviray,
Car tout son vueil acompliray
A mon pouoir, de bien en mieulx,
Tant que son cueur sera joyeulx
D’avoir le mien pour le servir.
Ha! Amours, laissez moy venir
Aux biens de vostre seigneurie.
Ostez moy de mellencolie
Et mectez mon cueur hors d’ennoy.
Lors commençay a faire ung lay
Et l’ay nommé cy en escript
«Lay de plour,» actendant respit.


Amours, Amours, jadiz souloie
Chanter, dancer et mener joye,
            Et maintenant
Douleur m’assault et me guerroye.
De Desespoir suis a la voye.
            Par hardement
De trop parler, suis maintenant
Assailly doloreusement
            De Desconfort,
Qui me maine si durement
Que mort seray prochainement
            Par son effort.

Se je muir, n’aurés vous pas tort
De souffrir que j’endure mort
            Pour bien servir?
Je diray que Loyaulté dort
Quant ne me donne reconfort
            Pour resjouir
Mon cueur, qui ne fait que languir
Par le pourchas d’Ardant Desir.
            Et nuit et jour
Ne fait que plourer et gemir,
Ne nul bien ne peult recueillir
            Fors que douleur.

Ayez pitié de ma clamour,
Ma maistresse et ma seule amour.
            Soyez piteuse
De me veoir en telle langour
Et d’oyr mon trespiteux plour.
            Gente, joyeuse,
Soiez de moy guerir soingneuse.
Belle, plaisant et gracieuse,
            Vous ferés bien:
Mectez ma vie tenebreuse
En parfaicte vie joyeuse.
            Vostre me tieng.

Mon cueur est vostre, non pas mien,
Car vostre gracieux maintien
            Le m’a osté
Et l’a prins et vueil qu’i soit sien.
Donnez luy ou leesse ou rien.
            Ma voulenté
Est d’endurer la cruaulté
D’Amours, pensant que Loyaulté
            Me secourra;
Et me donrra joyeuseté,
Celle ou remaint toute beaulté,
            Quant lui plaira.
Ma douleur se retournera
En leesse, et revendra
            Mon dueil en joye.
Espoir me dist qu’ainsi sera.
Bel Accueil dist qu’il luy dira
            Qu’amé je soye.
Helas! s’estre amé je pouoye,
Plus rien je ne demanderoye.
            J’aroye assés.
Mais Reffuz tresfort me guerroye,
Que je ne sçay que dire doye,
            Tant suis mactéz.

Ne doy je mie estre lasséz
D’avoir tant de maulx enduréz
            Et tant de paine?
Dieu amoureux, reconfortez
Mon cueur qui est desconfortéz,
            Car Mort le maine
Et veult mener a son demaine.
A! Pitié! Dame souveraine!
            Faictes mon dueil
Cesser une foiz la sepmaine.
Mectez moy hors de ceste paine
            Que je recueil

Ou je suis mort dessus le sueil
Par Desir, dont suis en l’escueil.
            Et je ne puys,
Se n’est par vostre tresdoulx vueil,
Garyr. Je suis, plus que ne sueil,
            Prouchain de l’uis
De Desespoir. Assailly suis
De Desconfort. Et je ne truis
            Qui me sequeure,
Combien que a la mort je suis.
Si fauldra il que soye conduiz
            A son demeure.

Ne doye je mauldire l’eure
Par qui gemis souvant et pleure,
            Et le regard
Qui tant pleu m’a a desmesure?
Par luy ay eu cest encloeure.
            Ce fut le dart
Qui m’a navré et main et tart.
Par luy mon cueur tressault et art.
            Dieu amoureux,
Seray je de joye bastart?
Haroy je bien gecté hazart
            D’estre joyeulx?

N’ay je esté mellencolieux,
Jeune, gente, belle aux beaulx yeulx,
            Longue saison?
Ne me souffrez plus envieux.
Par Dieu, belle, vous ferés mieulx,
            Car sans raison
Je suis long temps sans garison
Et ay des maulx a grant foison,
            Dont je souppire
De ce que je pers ma saison.
En douleur suis en garnison.
            Doy je bien rire?

Dictes, me doit il bien souffire?
Je sens de tous les maulz le pire.
            Ne fust Espoir,
Mort fusse, sans plus contredire.
Mais il dit qu’i me doibt souffire
            De remanoir
Son serviteur, vestu de noir,
Actendant de Mercy avoir
            Quant lui plaira.
Et que ce soit son bon vouloir;
Ma leesse, a dire voir,

Faire en peult ce qu’elle vouldra.
Ma voulenté ne changera
            Que pelerin
Je ne soye le temps qui vendra.
J’ay espoir que mieulx m’en sera
            En la parfin.
Si prie de cueur saint Valentin
Qu’a moy secourir soit enclin
            Contre douleur
Qui me tient et seoir et matin.
Et pour ce cy vueil faire fin
            Du Lay de Plour.

Alors que j’euz mon lay finé
Et en mon livre enregistré,
En mon dormant m’estoit advis
Qu’aprochoie prés du pays
Ou demouroit ma seule joye,
Celle qui tant veoir desiroye.
Lors pensay que je l’yroye voir
Pour ma douleur ramantevoir,
Savoir s’il m’en seroit de mieulx.
        Maiz je la treuve, se m’aist Dieux,

Si environnee de Reffuz
Que je en suis du tout esperduz.
Maiz ses reffuz sont si plaisans
Et ses dangiers si advenans
Que plus me plaist son escondire
Que tous les biens qu’on pourroit dire
Avoir, s’il ne me venoit d’elle.
Or est empiré ma querrelle,
Car jadiz vivoye en espoir.
Maintenant suis en desespoir.
Car l’autre yer, quant je me party,
Sans congié d’elle desparty,
Cuidant mussier ma maladie.
Maiz je congneuz tost ma folie
Et sçay qu’elle en eust desplaisir.
Lors luy envoyay requerir
Qu’il luy pleust le me pardonner
Et ma douleur reconforter.
J’euz le pardon sans reconfort,
Et sceuz qu’elle n’estoit d’accord
De me vouloir sien retenir.
Pour ce piteusement languir
Me fault sans avoir garison
Des griefz maulx dont j’en ay foison.
Pour ce j’ay fait une balade.
Languissant, durement malade,
L’ay escript et mis en mon livre.
Si vous plaist, vous la povez lire.


Mort et non mort, languissant en tristesse,
Et esloingné de tous biens amoureux,
Vestu de noir et tout nu de leesse,
Environné de Reffuz envieux,
Plain de penser tresmellencolieux
Suy pour ma dame qui ne me veult amer.
Helas! Amours, vueillez luy conseiller
Que son vouloir soit et sa doulce grace
De moy guerir et mon mal conforter,
Car ma douleur de tout mon cueur efface.

Laz! fauldra il que fine ma jeunesse
En plours, en plains, en soupirs doloreux?
Aray je ja de reconfort l’adresse?
Sera tousjours mon cueur si angoisseux,
Jeune, gente, doulce, belle, aux beaulx yeulx?
Sans espoir, suis prés de desesperer.
Vous plaist il bien me laisser definer?
Vostre vouloir est il que je trespasse?
Confortez moy, qu’i m’en est bien mestier,
Car ma douleur du tout mon cuer efface.

J’envoye vers vous requerir, vostre humblesse,
Pardon de ce que suis malgracieulx.
Car mon grief mal me destraint et me blesse
Si durement que ne sçay, se m’aist Dieux,
Que faire doye, tant suis fort desireux
De acquerir ce que ne puis trouver:
C’est vostre amour, belle dame sans per,
Maiz prés de moy ne voulez estre en place,
Dont je sens bien qu’il me fault enrager,
Car ma douleur du tout mon cuer efface.

Mon dieu, ma dame, ma tresdoulce maistresse,
Guerir ne puis de ma dure destresse
Se n’est par vous. Mandez moy que je face.
Confortez moy, s’il vous plaist, ma deesse,
Car ma douleur du tout mon cueur efface.

Ainsi que finoie ma balade,
De douleur durement malade,
Souspiroie moult tendrement,
En regrectant piteusement
Les douleurs que reçoy pour elle,
En disant a par moy, «C’est celle
Qui de biens toutes autres passe.
C’est le rubiz qui tous efface!»
Ainsi qu’estoie en ce penser,
Vy entrer dedans le vergier
Ung messagier qui vint vers moy,
Disant, «Douleur m’envoye a toy
Et te mande qu’il vient logier
Dedans ton cueur sans atargier,
Et avec luy Reffuz sera,
Ne Dangier pas ne lessera.
Avec foison de soudoiers,
Et tantost les apparceverez.
Et si m’a ditque Souvenir,
Acompaigné d’Ardant Desir,
De vostre cueur ne bougeroit
Et compaignie lui tiendroit.»
Plus n’en dist; de moy se partist,
Ne ne sceuz tantost qu’il devint.
Lors commançay crier, «Helas!
Amours, suis je dedans voz las
Envelopé si durement
Que mon cueur ne sent que torment?
De jour en jour ma douleur croist,
N’un seul plaisir il ne reçoit.
Quant de ma dame suis prochains,
De s’amour me trouve loingtains,
Et quant loing suis, Ardant Desir
De la veoir me fait souvenir.»
Et pour ce, durement malade,
Ay cy escript une balade.


Doleur me mande qu’il retient sa forteresse
Dedans mon cueur, pour estre en garnison,
Et qu’avec luy, il retiendra Tristesse.
Ces deux auront soudoiers a foison.
Car avec eulx, pour fournir la maison,
Sera Desir, pour faire l’assaillie,
Et Souvenir, le vaillant champion.
Ces deux desja ont leur place choisie.

Ilz ont baillé la grosse tour maitresse
A Desconfort et le maistre donjon,
Et ont mandé Desespoir qu’il s’appresse
Et qu’il se haste, car il en est saison.
Dangier sera logié, car c’est raison,
Et avec luy Reffuz, n’en doubtés mie.
Chacun aura en sa main ung baston,
Ces deux desja ont leur place choisie.

Tous ceulx la ont juré que se Leesse
Aprouche prés, ilz l’auront en prison.
Maiz j’ay grant paour que gueres ne s’apresse
Se par Pitié je ne truis garison.
Helas! Amours, vous faictes desraison
De me tenir en si piteuse vie,
En plours, en plains; c’est ma destruction.
Ces deux desja ont leur place choisie.


De plus en plus j’apparçoy ma doulour
Renouveller et accroistre mes plains.
Je sens mon cuer dedans le Lac de Plour,
Et de plourer mes yeulx en sont destains.
Mon cueur est ja de tous poins si estains,
Je suis muet quant je deusse parler,
Vueiller me faut lors que deusse dormer,
Et tout ce fait celle qui est sans per,
Qui en ce point me veult faire languir.

Desir me tient en ses laz nuyt et jour,
Et Souvenir me prent entre ses mains.
Bel Acueil vient m’acueillir en sa tour,
En me disant, «Tu voiz que ne me fains
De toy amer. Pour bien amé te clains.
Maiz plus avant ne te vueil accorder,
Ne nul autre ne vueil mien retenir.»
Tout ce me dist celle qui est sans per,
Qui en ce point me veult faire languir.

Comment pourray je delaisser ma clamour
Ne les pensers dont suis si fort actains?
Comment auray je puissance ne vigour
De soustenir les maulx dont suis estrains
Ne la tristesse dont suis tout en tout tains
Quant ma princesse si ne me veult donner
Le don d’«amy», ne pour sien retenir?
Par elle fault mon cueur desesperer
Qui en ce point me veult faire languir.


Puisqu’a la belle plaist moy faire finir,
J’en suis content, ainsi m’aist vrayement Dieux,
Et ayme mieulx pour elle recueillir
Autant de maulx que fist onc amoureux
Que par nul autre redevenir joyeux.
Or en face tout a son bon vouloir,
Car en ce point mon cueur vueil remanoir.
Mes yeulx le veullent et mon penser aussi.
Et dient eulx deux, «On ne pourroit veoir
Plus belle dame, de tous biens sans nul sy.»

Sa grant beaulté me mect le souvenir
Dedans mon cueur qui me tient en tous lieux,
Et d’autre part, me suyt Ardant Desir,
Qui me contraint d’estre fort desireux
A revoyer son gent corps gracieux.
Et son reffuz me mect en desespoir
Quant ne luy plaist pour sien moy recevoir
Ne de mon mal avoir nulle mercy.
Non obstant, on ne pourroit veoir
Plus belle dame, de tous biens sans nul sy.

Que vous diray? Je ne foiz que gemir
Et souspirer, comme tresdoloureux.
J’ay tous les maulx que on pourroit sentir.
Je suis pensifz et mellencolieux.
De la servir je suis tresenvieux,
Et si crains fort prés d’elle remanoir,
Car j’ay doubte qu’on puisse aparcevoir
La voulenté qu’ay eue jusqu’a cy
D’elle amer, car on ne peult veoir
Plus belle dame, de tous biens sans nul sy.

Ainsi comme je baladoye
En songant, et me complaignoye,
Advis m’estoit qu’estoie vers celle
Qui est du monde la plus belle,
Et que mercy lui requeroye,
Qu’il luy pleust moy remectre en joye,
En luy disant, comme tout sien:
«Mon cueur est vostre; il n’est pas mien.
Je vous prie, vueillez le garder.»
Lors me faisoit ung doulx dangier
Et ung si gracieux reffuz
Que j’estoye du tout esperduz,
En me disant, «Je ne vueil mie
Garder tout, maiz une partie
De vostre cueur bien garderay,
Et l’autre si vous renderay.»
Mais recevoir ne le vouloie,
Ne dire rien ne luy savoie.
Maiz plus avant elle disoit
Que nul sien elle ne retendroit,
Ne ne seroit plus point qu’a moy.
Adonc me taisoie tout coy
Ne plus ne luy savoie que dire.
Maiz, affin qu’on ne veist mon ire,
Adieu humblement luy disoie,
Et, en luy disant, je veoye
Qu’elle pensoit tresdurement.
        Helas! quel est son pensement?
Est il piteux de mon martire?
Je ne sçay que penser ne dire.
Je vueil en la servant finer.
Je n’oseroye retourner
Vers elle en jour de ma vie,
Qu’on ne congneust ma maladie.
Loing d’elle ne pourroye vivre.
Ainsi me vois je desconfire
Et mectre a mort a mes deux mains.
A! Amours, a bon droit me plains,
De vous, se me laisez mourir
Si piteusement et fenir
Que mon ame en soit dampnee
Et ma vie deshonnoree
De moy mectre mesmes a mort.
Il vault mieulx que, par desconfort,
Je laisse de tous poins le monde
Et que moy mesmes me confonde.
Or seray je deshonnoré,
En disant que, par lascheté,
Seray esloingné de la guerre.
Las! je ne sçay garison querre.
Je n’ay vouloir a riens penser
Fors seulement a abreger
Ma vie pour haster ma mort.
        Ainsi qu’estoye en tel descort,
Je pensay que je requerroye
Ung de combatre, et escriproye
Devers luy tout ysnellement
Pour faire mon definement,
A mon pouoir, plus honnorable
Et a mon cueur plus agreable
De definer en ce party
Que nul des deux autres party.
Lors feiz unes lectres pour armes,
Seellees du seel de mes armes,
Lesquelles sont cy en escript
Affin que mieulx m’en souvenist.

Lectres Closes

Ou nom de Dieu, de Nostre Dame et de ma dame saincte Katherine, pour l’amour
de ma mortel folie, a vous sire de Cornoaille, envoye mes lectres faisans savoir,
comme a ung des plus vaillans chevaliers et des plus renomméz du party du roy
d’Angleterre, que je, pour l’achoison de mon cuer que j’ay perdu nouvellement,
ay empris de vous requerir par ces presentes de combatre. Et ne le tenez pour
orgueil, que affin que saichez pourquoy j’ay entrepris ceste querelle, vueillez savoir
que j’ay amé et ameray toute ma vie la non pareille dame du monde. Or est ainsi
qu’il ne luy plaist mon cueur tenir pour serviteur, et a ce puis apparcevoir qu’elle
veult abreger ma mort. Et puisqu’il est ainsi que celle qui de tous biens les autres
passe desire mon definement, vous envoye requerir de mon tresdoloreux oultrage.
Car je sçay bien que les biens sont en vous si grans que, quant au fait des armes de
vous, ne vendroy je a au dessus, se ce n’estoit que ma seulle maistresse ne fust
piteuse de mon deffinement. Se n’est par elle, je ne puis riens valoir. En elle maint
ma vertu et ma force. Demouré suis sans cueur, sans honneur, sans pouoir. Or
povez veoir que n’aurez guere affaire a moy confire. Maiz nostre jeu sera ainsi
party. Quant vous m’aurez oultré et desconfit, vous ne prendrez fors que la vie de
moy. Car en ce point vueil ma vie finer. Et s’il estoit ainsi que celle qui a le pouoir
de moy remectre mon cueur en joye par son bien me donnoit vertu de vous mectre
a desconfiture, je ne vouldroie de vous tant seulement avoir, sans plus, que ung
dyament pour envoyer a celle qui desconfit vous auroit. Et affin que je
maintiengne ces lectres vrayes, les ay seellees du propre seel de mes armes.

Quant j’euz toutes mes lectres dictes
Et dedans mon livre escriptes,
Mon cueur si se print a songier,
En maudissant tresfort Dangier,
Qui me mect a destruction.
Lors me vint en advision
Qu’Espoir si me juroit moult fort
Que de ma dame auroye confort
Et seroye pour amy claméz
Et de s’amour reconfortéz,
Et que tresfort luy desplaisoit
Du mal que mon cueur recevoit.
Ainsi me tient Espoir en vie.
Autrement ne vesquisse mye.
Et ainsi qu’en ce point estoie
Et en Espoir me confortoye,
Je regarday tout bellement
Ung qui estoit secrettement
Dedans le vergier embuschié
Et durement estoit courroucie.
Quant il vist qu’aparceu l’avoie,
Il dist, «Amis, Dieu vous doint joye!
Qu’avez de vous desconforter
Si durement et regrecter
Les maulx qui vous viennent d’Amours?
Quelx besoingnes sont ce qu’amours?
Jamaiz je n’en oy parler.
Ce sont choses pour enrager.
Je le voy a vostre maniere,
Qui faictes si piteuse chiere.
Je cuidoye que nul n’eust tristesse,
Douleur, desplaisir ne destresse
Fors moy tout seul, tant seulement,
Qui en reçoy si largement
Que je m’en tiens trop bien de rire.
Maiz s’il vous plaisoit a moy dire
L’achoison de vostre douleur,
Se faire vous pouoie doulceur,
De tresbon cueur je le feroye.»
Lors doulcement les mercyoye,
Luy disant que nul reconfort
Je ne demande que la mort,
Car le mire qui garir peult
Le mal dont mon cueur si se deult
Veult qu’en douleur languisse ainsi.
«Maiz dictes moy vostre party
Et l’achoison de vostre plainte.
Car advis m’est que seuffrez mainte
Dure destresse en vostre cueur.
Car se je pouoye par honneur
Vous conforter, je le feroye,
Et a mon pouoir, vous donroye
Conseil de vostre garison.
Or me dictes vostre raison,
S’il vous plaist, et je vous en prie.»
Lors me disoit par mocquerie,
«Helas! comment m’ahideriés vous?
Vous avez tant a faire a vous
Que ne savez quel tour torner.
Comment me pourroit conseiller
Ung qui aydier ne se sauroit,
Combien que faire le vouldroit?»
«Doulx frere, adonc je luy disoie,
Peult estre que mieulx vous saroye
Conseiller que je ne foiz moy.
Dictes moy, s’il vous plaist, pourquoy
Ainsi vous vous desconfortez.
Et aprés, se sçavoir voulez
De mon mal tout la verité,
Je le vous diray en briefté.»
Lors disoit, «Puisque le voulez,
Dire le vous vueil. Escoutés!


«A l’entree de ma jeunesse,
A mon premier commancement,
J’estoie destraint de leesse
Et de trouver esbatement.
J’avoye hostel bel et plaisant
Prés de bois et plains de jardins
Ou je m’aloie deduisant.
De mon deduit tresmal m’est pris!

«Ung jour que j’estoie sans presse
En ung jardin, tout privement,
Je regarday a la tournesse
Et vy voler si gentement
Ung esprevier, en menassant
Trestous les oyseaulx du pourpris,
Car j’ay prins grant soulassement.
De mon deduit tresmal m’est prins!

«Au plus tost me mis en l’adresse
De regarder voye comment
Prendre le pourroye, maiz tristesse
M’en est venue nouvellement
Que je l’ay prins, maiz malement
Le garday, comme m’est advis.
Dont je pleuray et diz souvant,
«De mon deduit tresmal m’est prins!»

«Avant que je le peusse prendre,
Ne qu’a moy il se voulsist rendre,
Maintes foiz en euz assez peine.
Il n’estoit heure en la sepmaine
Que ne feusse, seoir et matin,
Enfermé dedans le jardin,
Et ne faisoie qu’estudier
Comment peusse cest esprevier
Acoincter ne actraire a moy.
Trop bien vennoit au prés de moy,
Maiz prendre je ne le pouoie,
Ne laisser je ne le vouloie,
Tant avoie parfait desir
De le vouloir mien acquerir.
Tant me plaisoit parfaictement
Que je miz tout mon pensement,
A lui, sans penser autre rien,
Pour l’amour de son beau maintien.
Je mectoie paine de lui plaire
Et me gardoie de lui desplaire.
Je fuz long temps en ce party,
Qu’onques ung jour ne me party
D’emprés de ce que tant amoye,
Pour ce que prendre ne le pouvoye.
En ce faisant euz assez paine.
Or m’avint en une sepmaine,
Par ung lundy assez matin,
L’endemain de saint Valentin
Que tous oyseaulx veullent chanter,
Ainsi qu’estoie alé jouer
Ou jardin comme es autres foiz,
Je viz cest esprevier courtois
Qui vint vouler dessus ma main.
Maiz pour maleureux je me claim
Que autrement ne l’ay gardé.
Je suis de malvaise heure né
D’avoir ung si grant bien conquis,
Pour le perdre comme chetis,
Car jamaiz nul ne vit oysel
Si gent, si plaisant, ne si bel,
Ne de si trescourtois affere.
Ses faiz devoient a chascun plaire.
Long temps de luy j’euz grant leesse
En luy faisant toute humblesse
Et doulceur que faire pouoie.
Durement de mon cueur l’amoye
Et luy moy, ce m’estoit advis.
Ainsi estoit le jeu partiz
Tresloyaulment d’entre nous deux.
A lui plaisoient tous mes jeux.
D’autre accointier ne se vouloit.
Ne nul autre ne le portoit
Fors moy tout seul tant seulement.
Je le garday treslonguement.
Ou qu’i vollast, si estoit il
Si franc, si noble et si gentil
Que tousjours a moy revenoit,
Et point changer ne me vouloit.
En ce point passay mon enfance.
Or m’avint ung jour par mescheance
Qu’estoie dedans le jardin
Si viz ung faulcon pelerin
Qui de voller faisoit merveilles.
Je me boutay dessoubz les treilles
Pour regarder sa contenance,
Et prins en luy tant de plaisance
Que je pensay que se pouoie
L’avoir, que plus riche seroie
Que d’avoir tout l’argent du monde.
Convoitise, que Dieu confonde,
Me fist a lui si fort penser
Que j’obliay mon esprevier.
Quant a mon esprevier venoye,
Trop bien de luy apparcevoye
Qu’il m’avoit ung pou estrangié,
Maiz j’estoie si tresenraigié
De vouloir prendre ce faulcon
Que j’en seiché comme ung baston.
Maiz ainsi que j’estoie ung seoir
Ou jardin pour mieulx le veoir,
Je viz ung tiercellet venir,
Qui bien sembloit, a son venir,
Oysel de noble et hault affaire.
Quant fut venu, c’estoit la paire.
Ilz se prindrent a festoier
Et leurs becz ensemble touchier.
De leurs elles s’entracolloient.
Ces deux oyseaulx se festoioyent
Si bien que c’estoit grant merveilles.
Et puis se mirent sur leurs elles
Et ensemble leur chemin tindrent,
Ne sceu quel part ne qu’ilz devindrent.
Mais quant je viz que perdu avoye
Le faulcon, se Dieu me doint joye,
Je fuz couroucié si fermement
Que je plouray moult tendrement.
Maiz mon dueil ne me mist guere a croistre
Quant je peuz clerement congnoistre
Qu’avoie perdu double perte,
Et s’estoit a bonne desserte.
Quant je vins ou laissié avoie
Mon esprevier, et le cuidoie
Trouver ainsi comme autresfoiz,
Je regarday et puis congnoiz
Que de la perche estoit party,
Qui me fust trespiteux party.
Adonc congneuz ma guignardie
Et ma mortelle couardie,
Que j’avoye, pour vouloir changier,
Perdu du tout mon esprevier,
Ne le faulcon pour pris n’avoye.
Et pour ce rien je ne vouldroie
Fors que la mort; tant seullement.
Je vueil finer piteusement,
En serchant se j’ourray nouvelles
Qui de ma perte me soient belles.
Car se recouvrer le pouoye,
Plus sagement le garderoye,
Sans enfraindre ma loyaulté.
Mal fut tournee faulseté,
Qui en ce point me fait languir.
Je suis par faulceté martir.
Ha! mauldicte soit guinardie!
Nul ne peut maintenir sa vie
Qui ne s’en repent au derrain.
De leesse suis mort de fain
Et ja tant en estoie raemply.
Ha! Loyaulté, je te supply,
Ne me mectz pour ce fait a mort,
Combien que j’aye si grant tort
Envers toy et si fort meffait
Qu’amander ne pourroye le fait,
Ce se n’estoit, par vostre humblesse
Qu’eussiés pitié de ma tristesse.
Et loyaulment vous jureroye
Que jamaiz ne me mefferoye
Envers vous en jour de ma vie.
Pour ce je diz ma maladie
Et mon mal. Ne sçay si vous plaist
Ou se mon parler vous desplaist.
Pour ce fineray ma raison.
Ouy vous avez l’achoison
Et la raison de ma complainte
Que je faiz sans pensee fainte.
Or m’en dictes la vostre aussi.
Si sera nostre jeu party.»


Lors luy disoie, «Beaulx amys,
J’ay bien ouy vostre clamour,
Et suis de vous fort esbahiz
Dont vous prenez telle doulour.
Il me semble que c’est foulleur
Pour ung oysel mener tel fin,
Que d’en perdre force et vigour
En souspirant seoir et matin.

«Nous savons bien que pour deduis
On ne peut avoir point d’onneur.
Qui vous a en ce point conduiz,
De prendre en oyseaulx tel amour
Ne d’estre d’eulx en tel ardour
Qu’a eulx soiez de tout enclin,
Tant qu’en perdez force et vigour
En souspirant seoir et matin?

«Ce penser ou vous estes mis
Trop a fait en vous long sejour,
Ainsi comme il m’est advis.
Je diroye que c’est le meilleur
Que vous preissiés ung autre tour.
C’est mon conseil, beaulx doulx cousin,
Puisqu’en perdez force et vigour
En souspirant seoir et matin.»

«Et s’il vous plaist savoir mes plains
Ne les maulx dont je me complains,
Sachiés que c’est pour une dame
Qui est de beaulté, par mon ame,
Seulle sans per, la non pareille.
C’est bien l’estoille despareille
Qui de clarté les autres passe.
C’est celle qui toutes efface
De tous biens que Dieu ne Nature
Pourroit mectre en creature.
C’est celle qui a tous doit plaire.
Se Dieu l’avoit encores affaire,
Il n’en sauroit faire une telle.
Elle est gente, joyeuse et belle.
Tant est plaisant son regarder
Et advenant son doulx parler
Qu’a chascun plaist sa contenance.
C’est la deesse de plaisance,
C’est le tresor de courtoisie,
C’est le dieu de joyeuse vie,
C’est d’onneur la droicte princesse,
C’est Alixandre de largesse.
C’est tous les biens qu’on pourroit dire.
Je n’en saroye tant escripre
Qu’en elle n’en ait assés plus.
Maiz tant y a que son reffuz
Me fait piteusement languir,/nobr>
Quant ne lui plaist moy sien tenir,
Son humble et loyal serviteur.
C’est l’achoison de ma douleur.
C’est ce pourquoy j’ay tel destresse,
Combien qu’Espoir me fait promesse
Que d’elle je seray amé
Et de mon mal reconforté.
Et me promect Espoir pour vray
Que bien tost je m’apparcevray
Du bon vouloir qu’elle a a moy.
Et si m’a juré par sa foy
Que nagueres qu’elle disoit
Que mieulx amer ne me sauroit,
Et qu’il n’est en ce monde femme
Qui peust plus amer, par son ame,
Homme du monde qu’elle fait moy.
Et si dist, je ne sçay pourquoy,
Que dire ne me vouldroit mie
L’amour dont elle est assaillie.
En ce point veult Espoir que soye,
Més Desir, qui mon cueur mestroie,
Me fait s’amours tant desirer
Que souvent m’en fault souspirer
Et dire «helas!» et main et seoir.


«En languissant, j’actens vostre vouloir
Dedans ces bois assez secretement,
Ne n’ay a qui prendre esbatement.
Seul suis de gens, acompaigné d’Espoir,

«Qui a mon cueur fait souvent assavoir
Qu’il est aymé. Nonobstant vrayement,
En languissant, j’actens vostre vouloir
Dedans ces bois assez secretement.

«S’il estoit vray que peusse parcevoir
Que m’amyssiés plus que nul seulement,
J’aroye Leesse bien a commandement
Et chanteroie, en chassant Desespoir,

«En languissant, j’actens vostre vouloir
Dedans ces bois assez secretement,
Ne n’ay a qui prendre esbatement.
Seul suis de gens, acompaigné d’Espoir.

«Que voulés vous que je vous die?
Frere, toute ma maladie
Me vient par elle seulement.
De moy peult faire jugement:
Elle est juge et si est partie.
Qu’en dictes vous? Ne doy je mie
Me plaindre et estre doloreux?
Se j’estoie si maleureux
Que de moy Espoir se partist,
Mourir vouldroie sans respit.
Espoir si me fait soustenir.
Autrement me faulcist fenir.
Et se Dieu veult qu’avoir je puisse
S’amour, je ne seray si nice
Que feustes de vostre esprevier,
Qui le laissates pour changier.
Jamais changer ne la vouldroye.
A mon pouoir la serviroye
De tout mon cueur si loyaulment
Sans avoir ung seul pensement
A nulle autre fors que a celle.
Vous avez ouy ma querelle.
N’ay je mieulx cause de me plaindre
Et de bien amer, sans me faindre,
Que vous n’avez, qui amez tant
Ung oysel qui s’en va vollant?
Vueillez m’en dire vostre advis,
Beau frere et beaulx doulx amis.»
«Frere, plus ne me puis defffendre.
De ma querelle me fault rendre.
J’ay debatu par poetrie
Et ainsi que par rimerie
La douleur que mon cueur sentoit,
Feignant que par deduit s’estoit.
Mon cueur est a destruction.
Maiz dire vous vueil l’achoison
Dont m’est venu ce desconfort
Pour quoy je me souhaide mort.
L’esprevier que je vous ay dit,
Ou prenoie tout mon deduit,
Si estoit une demoiselle,
Gente de corps, durement belle,
Qu’aymee avoie en ma jeunesse.
Si en souffry mainte destresse
Avant que d’elle fusse amé
Ne de mon mal reconforté.
Toutesvoyes m’en prist il si bien
Q’une foiz me retint pour sien.
Et perdue l’ay par guinardie,
Dont je mauldiz souvent ma vie.
Maiz pour finer nostre debat,
Je me tien pour eschec et mat,
Et dy qu’il n’est ou monde dame,
Damoiselle, ne autre femme,
Qui en riens n’en sceust comparer
A celle que vous oy louer.
Toutes lui deussent faire hommage
Et se tenir en son servage.
Et pour ce me dirés, beau frere,
La douleur qui vous est amere.
Sans vous bouger de loyaulté,
Pensez que serés conforté,
Car il a en vous assez bien
Pour avoir compaignie du sien.»
Plus n’en disoit, ce m’est advis,
Et me laissoit tout esbahiz,
Ainsi seulet que par devant,
Et se partoit, ne scez commant.
Si n’euz gueres esté tout seul
Qu’avis me fut que trop grant dueil
Faisoit mon Corps et se plaignoit
De mon Cueur, qui lassié l’avoit.
Mon Cueur disoit qu’il avoit tort
De prendre si grant desconfort,
Et faisoit, en façon de plaincte,
L’ung de l’autre une complaincte.
Et s’ennuyer ne vous vouloit,
Voir la pourrés ycy endroit.


N’a pas long temps, qu’en maniere de plainte,
Mon Corps parloit a mon Cueur fierement,
En lui disant, «Je seuffre douleur mainte.
Je voiz, je viens, je n’ay reposement.
Tu as empris ung si hault pensement
Et commencié une si haulte emprise
Qu’il m’en fauldra finer piteusement.
Mal fut pour moy en toy tel pensee mise.

«Je vy ung temps que souloie estre fort
Et maintenant ne me puis soustenir.
J’use mes jours en douleurs sans deport,
Et tout par toy, qui t’es voulu partir
De dedens moy et par mes yeulx saillir.
Ce me sera une dure saillie.
Mort en seray; lors te fauldra querir
Ung autre corps se tu veulz avoir vie.

«Je sçay trop bien qu’il n’est en ma puissance
De longuement tel douleur endurer.
J’ay bien cent yeulx enclos dedens ma pense,
Qui jour et nuit ne font que regarder,
Ne ne me laissent tant soit pou reposer.
Tousjours en a troys ou quatre vueillans
Pour regarder la grant beaulté sans per
De ma dame et ses faiz advenans.»

Lors respondoit mon Cueur: «Je me merveille
Que tu ne prens a ta paine plaisir,
Quant tu scez bien que c’est la non pareille
D’onneur, de biens que on pourroit choisir.
Se par tes yeulx me suis voulu partir,
En esperant de acquerir sa grace
Par fort amer, par loyaulment server
Sa grant beaulté qui toutes autres passe,

«Ne doiz tu bien endurer ta destresse
Pour les grans biens qui venir t’en pourront?
Se tu saurez congnoistre la leesse
Qui par tes yeulx une foiz te vendront
Et le plaisir qu’avoir ilz te feront,
En leurs regard tu devroyes prendre joye.
Car, quant a eulx, point ne se lasseront
De regarder de tous biens la monjoye.

«Tu vas disant que tu as dedens toy
Plus de cent yeulx. Je les y feiz venir
Prendre logis au premier jour de may.
Scés tu pourquoy? Affin que retenir
T’en voulsisses et tousjours souvenir
Des treshaulx biens qu’oye veu le matin.
Ce sont ceulx la que je vueil acquerir,
Pour quy j’en prins a estre pellerin.»

«Ha, beau doulx Cueur, vueillez moy conforter.
Je ne puis plus en moy prendre confort.
Venez vous en dedens moy bouter.
Laissiés ce fait dont sommes en discort.
Par Dieu, je pense que vous avez grant tort
Car il me semble qu’elle ne puet amer,
Et ne lui chault se vous recevez mort.
Elle est contente de vous faire enragier.

«Par plusieurs foiz vous luy avez requis
Que il luy pleust vous donner allegrance.
Maiz j’apperçoy que tousjours me va pis.
De plus en plus va croistre ma meschance.
De tant qu’elle est non pareille de France,
Deust elle estre de mes maulx plus piteuse,
Moy, qui la sers de toute ma puissance,
Comme ma dame et princesse amoureuse.

«Je sçay trop bien se vous creez Espoir,
A l’endemain, il vous decevra
Et vous fera maintenir et vouloir.
Maiz j’ay grant doubte que riens ne vous tendra.
C’est son affaire, je le sçay despieça.
Maintes gens sont trompés par tel maniere.
Or en faictes tout ce qu’il vous plaira,
De reffuser ou faire ma priere.»

«N’en parler plus, Corps; c’est ma voulenté
De la servir en gardant loyaulté.
Ne dedans vous plus ne retournray
Jusques a tant qu’avec moy amenray
Le noble cueur de ma belle princesse.
En cest espoir, obliés la destresse
Que vous avez, que s’acquerir pouoye
Le don d’ «amy», plus riche vous feroye
Que vous ne feustes en jour de vostre vie.
Vous n’eustes oncques tant de mellencolie,
D’ennuy, de dueil, ne de douloreux plains,
Que recevrez de joie entre les mains
Se ma maistresse me vouloit bien amer.
Vous n’avez corps ou vous peussiés logier
La grant leesse que de moy vous vendroit
Se son servant retenir me vouloit.
Se Dieu vouloit que tant luy peusse plaire
Que ses deux yeulx me voulsissent actraire
Dedans son cueur, lors vers vous revenroye,
Et puis après, savez que je feroye?
Nous deux ensemble luy jurerions homage,
De nous tenir tousjours en son servage.
Et se la foy de nous receue avoit
Et par son gré peurmettre nous vouloit
De nous tenir pour siens toute no vie,
Jamaiz n’aurions peine ne maladie.
Et jour et nuit serions raempliz de joye.
Quoy qu’avenir a vous n’a moy en doye.
En ce vouloir feray ma destinee,
Ne ja changer ne verray ma pensee.
Endurés, Corps, je vous prie, le grant bien
Qui m’en vendra, s’il vous plaist: que soie sien.»
Lors respondit le Corps, «Beaulx doulz amys,
Tant a de biens ou vous estes assis
Que retirer jamaiz ne vous vouldroye.
Maiz, en espoir que je doye avoir joye,
Je vueil chanter tresmellencolieux.


«Mon Cueur est sailly par mes yeulx,
Car mon Corps n’a point de souloie,
Ne retraire ne le vouldroie.
Logier ne le saroye mieulx.

«Il est logié, ainsi m’aist Dieux,
En droit tresor de toute joye.
Mon Cueur est sailly par mes yeulx,
Car mon Corps n’a point de souloie.

«Combien que soye douloreux,
Si ay je espoir qu’avenir doye,
De plus en plus que ne souloie,
Au haultain bien des amoureux.

«Mon Cueur est sailly par mes yeulx,
Car mon Corps n’a point de souloie,
Ne retraire ne le vouldroie.
Logier ne le saroye mieulx.

«Cueur, faictes vostre voulenté.
Maintenés vous en loyaulté.
Traveillez moy tant que vouldrés.
Foible suy et fort empiréz,
Mais nonobstant j’endureray
Trestout au mieulx que je pourray
La chose qu’avez entreprise.
Vostre pensée est bien mise.
Tenez vous y, c’est mon conseil,
Puisque c’est le dieu despareil
De toutes les dames qui sont,
Qui furent ne jamaiz seront
En tous lieux que dire on pourroit,
Ne nul tant dire ne sauroit
Que en a, sur Dieu et sur mon ame.
C’est la plus non pareille dame
Qui soit et qui jamaiz sera.
Et pour ce, vive qui pourra,
Je suis prest de tout endurer
Et par souffrir me conforter
Comme faisoit Palamidés.


«J’ay fait mon tresor de souhaiz
Et si me suis garny d’Espoir
Pour resister contre Douloir
Et encontre ses rudes faiz.

«Desconfort ne me laisse en paix,
Maiz guerre je luy vueil mouvoir.
J’ay fait mon tresor de souhaiz
Et si me suis garny d’Espoir.

«Et pour ce me vueil desormais
Vestir de blanc en lieu de noir,
Pour l’esperance qu’ay d’avoir
Allegement de mes regrés.

«J’ay fait mon tresor de souhaiz
Et si me suis garny d’Espoir
Pour resister contre Douloir
Et encontre ses rudes faiz.»

Le Cueur le Corps remercioit
De ce que son plaisir estoit
D’estre vray martir par amours.
Nonobstant les ardant tours
Qu’amours lui faisoit endurer,
Si ne se vouloit il bouger.
«Ainsi sommes d’accort nous deux
D’estre tousjours si desireux
De la cherir, servir et craindre.
Nul de nous deux ne se veult faindre
D’acomplir son plaisant vouloir,
Luy suppliant que recevoir
Luy plaise en gré noz piteux faiz
Et amendrir noz griefz regrectz,
Et en chantant luy requerir:


«Mectez nous en droit souvenir
Du parfont de vostre pensee.
Nostre princesse desiree,
Faictes nous devers vous venir.

«Car nous ne faisons que languir,
Jour et nuyt, seoir et mastinee,
Mectez nous en droit souvenir
Du parfont de vostre pensee.

«Acompaignéz d’Ardant Desir,
Endurons nostre destinee.
En presentant, tresbien amee,
Cette chanson pour requerir:

«Mectez nous en droit souvenir
Du parfont de vostre pensee.
Nostre princesse desiree,
Faictes nous devers vous venir.»

Quant nostre debat fut finé
Et en ce livre enregistré,
Il avint que je m’esveillay,
Et lors en tour moy regarday

Et viz que j’estoie tout seul,
Si pensay que faire mon dueil
Je feroye secrectement,
Si diz «helas!» piteusement,
«Amours, Amours, tant travaillier
M’avez fait qu’a ce resveiller
Me fault faire de vous complaincte.
Mon dormir n’est que une estraincte.
Quant on cuide que je repose
Pour ce qu’on voit ma veue close,
Lors est ce que croist mon travail,
Qu’oncques maiz ne viz le pareil.
L’ueil de mon corps n’a nul repos,
Car il est en Desir encloz,
Qui tousjours fait veoir sa mort,
Et si est de l’avoir d’accord.
Et pour ce nul ne m’en doit plaindre,
Car Raison veult mon mal estraindre,
Maiz souffrir ne le voulez mye,
Tant me plaist ma plaisant folie.
Je l’appelle folie plaisant
Combien qu’elle soit desplaisant.
En m’actrayant me desconfit
Et du tout son reffuz m’occist.
Amours, mal fut vostre maniere
De faire tel dame murtriere,
Et si ne peut de mon mal maiz.
Je ressemble Palamidés,
Qui vouloit, sanz avoir partie,
Amer tous les temps de sa vie.
Ma voulenté est d’ainsi faire.
Jamaiz jour ne m’en vueil retraire.
(Si dit on bien quelque hutin
Piteusement a la parfin.)
Pour tel fait fut mis a mort,
Et fut de ce faire d’accord.
Helas! et tant ma mort vouldroie.
Autre rien ne souheteroie
Se non tant seulement mourir.
Ha! Mort, que ne faiz tu fenir
Ma vie, qu’est trop ennuyeuse
Et trop durement doloreuse?
Tout m’ennuye, quant que je voy.
En lieu de plaisir j’ay ennoy.
Ha! Amours, et vous, ma maistresse,
Ay je desservy tel destresse
Pour bien vous loyaulment servir?
J’ay tousjours voulu acomplir
Trestous voz bons commandemens.
Ha, Amours, il n’a pas long temps
Que j’euz le plus grant desplaisir
Gueres qu’il me pourroit venir,
Car en dormant, me fut advis
Que le cueur, que devant je diz
A ma maistresse entierement,
Estoit perdu, ne sçay comment.
Et me sembloit que le veoie
Martirer, et lors requeroye
A ceulx qui luy faisoient la paine
Que, pour la Vierge souverayne,
Leur pleust me faire tel doulceur
De me rendre ce doulant cueur,
Et qu’assez avoit eu martire.
Baillié me fut sans escondire.
Quant je l’euz, comme tresdollant
D’une piece en feiz present
A ma dame, seulle amee,
Et croy qu’elle s’en soit coursee.
De son courroux me desplaisoit,
Ma douleur trop empiroit
Se j’avoye fait, pensé ne dicte
Chose dont elle fust despite.
Soit droit soit tort, je lui vueil plaire
Et me garder de luy desplaire.
Et aussi scez je de verité
Que en luy a tant loyaulté
Qu’en mal dire on ne pourroit
Se mentir d’elle on ne vouloit.
Et de tant que j’ay en pensee
De quoy elle s’estoit yree,
Humblement l’en crie mercy.
Et prie Amours que, pour cecy,
Ne me mecte hors de la grace
De celle de tous qui bien passe
Les dames qui furent ne sont
Ne qui jamaiz aprés seront,
Nonobstant que sa bien vueillance
Je n’euz oncques ne n’ay esperance,
Au semblant que je truiz en elle,
Que jamaiz ne puis ma querelle
Mectre a fin, comme je desire.
Maiz il me doit sans plus souffire,
De garder que ne luy desplaise,
Et se pour luy seuffre mesaise,
Nonpourtant je ne lairray mie
De la servir toute ma vie.
Amours, j’ay bien la congnoissance
Que ne vaulx d’avoir esperance
D’estre d’elle amy clamé.
Pou de chose est de ma bonté
Au regard de sa grant valeur,
De sa beaulté, de sa doulceur.
Et pour ce, Amours, je vous supplie
Seullement que, pour courtoisie,
Me gardez de sa desplaisance
S’avoir ne puis sa bien vueillance,
Et me donnez pouoir de faire
Tousjours chose qui lui peust plaire.
Amours, je suis tresvolentiers
L’ung de voz pouvres souldoiers,
Que n’ay ne gaige ne parement,
Et me souffist tant seulement
Que vous congnoissiés mon service,
Moy, qui vous serf sans nul office.
Servy vous ay sans ordonnance,
Sans avoir confort qu’esperance.
Encores n’ay je retenue.
Je ne sçay si j’aroye perdue
Ma peine pour vous bien servir.
Point ne le dy pour repentir,
Ne jamaiz ne le m’ourrez dire.
Nonobstant mon piteux martire,
Je suis de ma paine content.
Je suis tout en commandement
De celle qui me fait avoir
Le mal dont je me doy douloir.
Je vueil tout ce qu’elle vouldra
Et faire quanque luy plaira,
Ou vivre en dueil ou en leesse.
Seulle la vueil tenir maistresse.
Je suis son serf sans afranchir,
Ne ne vueil nulle autre choisir.
Elle est ma tresdoulce ennemye,
Et de mon cueur mortel amye.
Elle m’a tout. Je n’ay rien mien.
Et si ne me veult tenir sien.
Mais sien seray, vueil ou non vueille,
Ne lairray pour rien qui me vueille.
C’est une amour sans despartie
Qui durera toute ma vie.
Et pour s’amour, comment qu’il est,
Je vueil faire cy ung souhaist:
Plust a Dieu que, par vision,
Peusse savoir s’oppinion.
Je doubte qu’elle me het
Pour ce qu’envers luy ay meffait.»
Et tant pour le traveil qu’avoye
Que pour le desir, que vouloie
En mon dormant ung songe faire,
Je m’endormy, et n’y mis guere,
Et en mon dormant, je veoye,
Chevauchant par une saulsoye,
Dangier. Si me prins a gemir
Et penser au mal que j’avoye
Et la douleur qui me faisoit sentir
Tant pour amer et loyaulment servir
La non pareille qui soit dessoubz les cieulx
D’onneur, de bien, de regart gracieux.
La pareille ne pourroit on trouver.
Si dist mon cueur, qui la veult honnorer,
Servir, doubter, plus qu’autre, se m’aist Dieux.

Pour ce en espoir me vueil tenir joyeulx,
En actendant d’avoir allegement
De ma maistresse aux tresbeaulx rians yeulx,
Car sa doulceur ne veult mon finement.
Confort me dit et me va conseillant
Que je la serve mon vivant sans faulser.
Je l’en croyray; point ne m’en vueil lasser
De la servir, tant que je auray duree,
De cueur, de corps, de vouloir, de pensee,
Pour quelque mal que j’en puisse endurer,

En attendant que, par son doulx parler,
Mes griefz douleurs se tournent a leesse,
Et que mon cueur y puisse demourer
Et estre hors de paine et de tristesse.
Car j’ay esté si longtemps en destresse
Qu’ay obliay joye et esbatement.
Dancer, chanter, je souloie en mon temps,
Et maintenant me fault courroux mener.
Maiz j’ay espouoir de ce temps recouvrer,
Maulgré jaloux et les faulx medisans,

Qui m’ont esté a leur pouoir nuysans.
Maiz, maulgré eulx, je serviray la belle
Que j’ay aymé et honnoré longtemps.
Et nullement ne puis bonne nouvelle
Ouir n’avoir, s’elle ne me vient d’elle.
En elle maint ou ma mort ou ma vie.
Riche d’onneur, de loyaulté garnie,
Aiez pitié de mes dures doulours
Et du torment avec plains et plours
Que j’ay pour vous. Et si ne m’en plains mye,

Car je sçay bien qu’en une heure et demye
Povez mon mal retourner en doulceur.
Ma princesse.  Doncq ne vueillez mie
Que tout mon temps soit en telle langueur,
Maiz m’alegiez et ostez la douleur
Qu’au cueur je sens, que plus n’en puis sans mort.
Belle et doulce ou gist tout mon confort,
Reconfortez ce pouvre souffreteux
Qui est tousjours a son pouoir soingneux
De vous servir, soit a droit, soit a tort.

Ma seulle dame ou gist tout mon confort,
Par vostre gré escoutez la complaincte
De moy, qui n’ay aucun deport,
Et desconfort a ma doulceur destaincte.
Tous autres maulx ont si ma teste actainte,
Plus ne puis vivre, se je n’ay allegence.
Mon bien joyeulx et ma seulle plaisance,
Faictes de moy tout a vostre talent,
Car, se je meur, je peuz dire vrayement
Que seuffre mort pour la meilleur de France.

Ma seulle amour, ou je mis ma fiance,
Faictes de moy tout a vostre plaisance.
Pour vous amer, je languis, en verité.
Et languiray tant que seray renté
De vostre amour et que me donnez grace
D’oster de moy, comme infortuné,
Paine et soucy, et que je les deschace,
Et desplaisir qui longtemps si me chasse
Et m’a chassié a oster de baudour,
Et ja de fait m’a mis en tel ardour
Que je n’ay plus bon jour ne bonne nuit.
Dangier m’aprouche, et Dangier si me nuit
Que loisir n’ay de compter ma clamour.

Il fault que fine, je ne puis trouver tour.
Je dy adieu a bonne compaignie
Et a vous, dame, des bonnes la meilleur.
Je prens congié de vostre chiere lie.
Orrant, plourant, menant piteuse vie,
Fault que departe de grans biens amoureux.
Si vous supply, compaignons gracieux,
Prigent, Regnault et Jamect ensement,
Voz maistresses servez soingneusement.
Quoy qu’on en die, vous n’en vauldrez que mieulx.

Et tout ainsi que je me complaignoye,
J’ouy passer dessus moy une voix
Qui me disoit: «Amys, ne te desvoye!
Le Dieu d’Amours si t’en sera courtois,
Et m’envoie cy pour t’oster le doulx poiz
Qu’as dessus toy et la mellencolie.
Lieuve tost sus et mene bonne vie!
Confortez toy, mectz peine de guerir!
Tu te doiz bien plus qu’oncques maiz esjouir
Car tu auras d’onneur la seigneurie.»

Quant je l’oy, j’estoye en pasmerie.
Si prins adonc a ma teste lever
Veoir se verroye la voix qu’avoye ouye,
Car voulentiers eusse voulu parler
Plus longuement et la araisonner
Pour demander quelle seroit ma fin.
Point ne la viz, maiz quant vint le matin,
De mes maulx fu allegré grandement.
J’en mercyay Amours piteusement.
Cela m’avint le jour saint Valentin.


Jeune, gente, belle, doulce maniere,
Riant regart, bel acueil, doulx parler,
Je viens vers vous, faisant piteuse chiere,
Prendre congié et moy recommander
A vo doulceur qui me peult conforter.
Faictes de moy tout ce qu’il vous plaira,
Que jamaiz jour mon vueil ne changera.
Car a ce faire mon vueil est tout fermé,
De vous servir tousjours en loyaulté.
Ou que je voise, mon cueur vous demourra.

Helas! pourquoy estes vers moy si fiere
Qu’i ne vous plaist mon parler escouter?
Ne pourquoy m’est vostre humblesse si chiere
Qu’i me convient durement achapter
Ung doulx semblant, quant le puis recouvrer?
Et si ne sçay quant vostre vueil sera
De m’octroyer ce qu’ay requis pieça
Pour faiz ou mal que j’ay ja enduré.
Car, par ma foy, mon bien et ma chierté,
Ou que je voise, mon cueur vous demourra.

Mes plains, mes plours sont bien boutés arriere.
Trop pou vous chault de me voir tormenter,
Ne de conforter ma piteuse priere
Et la douleur qu’i me fait endurer,
Belle et doulce, pour vous vouloir amer.
Je sçay trop bien que briefment me fauldra
Finer d’ennuy. Oncques nul n’endura
Si grant peine, pour en dire verité,
Maiz tout en voit a vostre voulenté.
Ou que je voise, mon cueur vous demourra.

Ma princesse, ma voulenté entiere
Est et sera vous craindre et redoubter.
Et se je n’ose a vous souvant parler,
Ce poise moy, maiz, quant il vous plaira,
Mon dueil ferez en reconfort tourner.
Si vous povez de moy tout asseurer,
Ou que je voise, mon cueur vous demourra.


Adieu, gent corps, jeune, joyeulx,
Adieu, doulx regart gracieulx,
Adieu, ma tresbelle maistresse.
Je prens congié par grant destresse
Et m’en voiz mellencolieux.

Je delaisse tous biens eureux,
Et si me pars tous souffreteux,
Pensant au grief mal qui me blesse.
Adieu, gent corps, jeune, joyeulx,
Adieu, doulx regart gracieulx,
Adieu, ma tresbelle maistresse.

S’Umble Vouloir ne m’est piteux
D’alegier mon mal angoisseux,
Je suis forbanny de leesse,
Sans jamaiz retrouver l’adresse
De revenir n’en riz, n’en jeux.

Adieu, gent corps, jeune, joyeulx,
Adieu, doulx regart gracieulx,
Adieu, ma tresbelle maistresse.
Je prens congié par grant destresse
Et m’en voiz mellencolieux.


Plus ne pourroit avoir mon cueur destresse,
Ne desplaisir, ne torment envieulx.
Quoy que j’ay bien desja la congnoissance
Que sans pitié est le dieu que je croy.
Maiz j’ay espoir de faire le pourquoy
Mon entrecrist sera vers moy piteux.
A tout le moins ne tendra point a moy
Se je ne suis sans raison maleureux.

Plus ne me puis tenir que je ne die
Que mon dieu est des autres dieux deesse,
Faicte des fees et venu de faairie,
Plaine de biens, d’onneur et de largesse.
Celle doit bien estre a tous maistresse.
Son vueil sans plus peut chascun enrichir.
Il peut sans plus souffir de la servir
Pour les grans biens, beaultés qui sont en elle.
On la doit bien nommer, et sans mentir,
Dame des dames, des bonnes la plus belle.

Ainsi m’aist Dieux, que je croy fermement,
Se Dieu avoit perdue Nostre Dame,
Qu’i s’en vendroit embas, ne sçay comment,
Ne ne prendroit ja pour luy autre femme
Que ma maistresse, qui m’est et dieu et dame.
Maiz cuidés vous que je luy laisse aller,
Se par force le pouoye destourner?
Et d’autre part a tant de serviteurs
Que ung seul dieu ne l’en pourroit mener,
S’avec luy n’avoit des enchanteurs.

Maintes gens sont devenuz par clergie
Hors de leur sens et perdu tout leur savoir,
Maiz j’ay empris une trop grant folie
D’amer celle qui d’amer n’a vouloir.
Je pers le sens, la force et le pouoir.
Mal eust sur moy Amours tant de puissance
De m’asservir a la non per de France.
Serf demourray, sans jamaiz afranchir.
Quoy que ce soit a mon cueur grant vaillance,
Si m’en fault il mainte douleur souffrir.

Encores ce de quoy plus me merveil,
C’est qu’Amours n’a nul pouoir sur elle.
Seulle veult estre sans choisir nul pareil.
Nul oncques maiz n’y ot parler de telle.
Qui me pourra aider a ma querelle?
Qui me pourra faire abaisser mon dueil?
Qui lui pourra dire ce que je vueil?
Car d’escouter est si tresdangereuse.
Quant luy vueil dire le mal que je recueil,
Craincte me dist que n’est de riens piteuse.

Taire me fault de luy dire mes plains,
Que je ne puis du dire trouver place.
Et, d’autre part, si durement la crains,
Car se j’avoie temps, loisir et espace,
Si n’oseroye. Or regardés que face.
Suy je en bon point? Jugiez, se vous aist Dieux.
Sont bien vengéz de moy les envieulx?
Il m’est advis qu’il leur doit bien souffire.
J’ayme ma mort. Demanderoient ilz mieulx?
Et si ne scet quel douleur j’ay mon mire.

Plus ne me vueil de ma douleur complaindre.
Endurer vueil, soit a droit ou a tort,
Et bien amer tousjours maiz, sans me faindre,
Celle qui est consentant de ma mort.
Mon cueur le veult et j’en suis bien d’accord.
Si prie a Dieu qu’i me garde de faire
Ne dire chose qui lui puisse desplaire.
Et s’ainsi est que je ne puisse avoir
Sa bienvueillance, de quoy ne me puis taire,
Dieu me gart d’estre en son maulvaiz vouloir.


Doulce durté, ma tresmortel amye,
Mon bien, mon mal, ma maistresse, ma joye,
Mon tout, ma tresdoulce ennemye,
Ma balade humblement vous envoye
Vous supplier qu’il vous plaise que soye
De ma douleur par vous reconforté.
Qu’ainsi m’aist Dieux, mon bien et ma cherté,
Nulle que vous n’a sur moy le pouoir
De moy guerir, car je suis ahurté.
Et pour cela me tiens vestu de noir.

Plus pense aux biens de vostre seigneurie,
A la beaulté dont vous estes montjoye,
Aux plaisans jeux dont vous estes garnie,
Mon mal me plaist, ne guerir ne vouldroye
Se n’est par vous, quoy qu’avenir m’en doye.
Jamaiz changer ne vueil ma voulenté.
Mon cueur le veult et je l’ay accordé,
Quoy que m’ayez de tout banny d’espoir
Par ung reffuz assez prés du fossé.
Et pour cela me tiens vestu de noir.

Helas! ma dame, ay je mort desservie
Pour vous amer tant que plus ne pourroye?
Vostre pitié me sera elle faillie?
Ay je riens fait que faire je ne doye?
Mort ou mercy, plus ne souhaderoye.
A vous me rens, recevez moy en gré.
Faictes moy riche dont j’ay grant pouvreté.
C’est la leesse que par vous puis avoir.
Je suis en dueil, presque desesperé.
Et pour cela me tiens vestu de noir.

Autre Balade

Las! je suis en dueil vestu de noir.
Vostre doulceur me peult bien revestir
A leesse et chasser desespoir
Hors de mon cueur pour me faire esjouir.
Vous me povez de plaisance bannir
Ou conforter mon doloreux torment.
Vostre serf suis, maiz c’est si loyaulment
Qu’a nulle rien ne puis prendre plaisir
Qu’a vous amer, ma dame, seulement.

Il a longtemps que j’ay mis mon vouloir
A vous amer et loyaulment servir.
Guion pieça le vous feist assavoir,
Maiz se j’avoye puissance ne loisir
Ne hardement de mon fait regehir,
Plus vous vouldroie dire mon pensement
Qu’autre le deist. Maiz pensez seurement
Que jamaiz jour n’auray autre desir
Qu’a vous amer, ma dame, seulement.

Las! ma maistresse, se je avoye le pouoir
Que ciel et terre je peusse despartir,
S’il vous plaisoit tout en gré recevoir,
Tout seroit vostre, sans riens ailleurs partir.
Aiez pitié de moy qui suis martir,
Ma seule amour, mon dieu, mon sauvement.
Ne me laissez finer piteusement.
Car espoir ay de nul bien desservir
Qu’a vous amer, ma dame, seulement.

Autre Balade

Helas! ma dame, pour qui me fault gemir
Par maintes foiz et souvent souspirer,
Aiez pitié de vostre vray martir,
Qui humblement veulz son temps definer
En vous servant, sans jamaiz autre amer,
Quoy que diez qu’avenir ne me pourroit
Vostre doulx cuer, pour ce doy bien porter:
«En cest hostel, pitié goute n’y voit.»

Tout mon regard et tout mon souvenir
Si est en vous, ma deesse sans per.
Tout mon confort me peult de vous venir,
N’autre que vous ne me peult conforter.
Ma garison se peult en vous trouver.
Maiz dit m’avez, quoy que n’ayez pas droit,
Que je puis bien en devise porter:
«En cest hostel, pitié goute n’y voit.»

Pouoir avez de moy faire fenir
Piteusement et mes jours abregier,
Et, d’autre part, par vous puis recueillir
La garison que je doy desirer.
Vous me povez bannir ou rappeller.
Humble vers vous seray commant qu’il soit,
Nonobstant ce qu’il me fault porter:
«En cest hostel, pitié goute n’y veoit.»


N’a pas longtemps que mon cueur vous faisoit
Une requeste assez piteusement,
Car en humblesse bien fort vous supplioit
Que souffrissiés au moins tant seulement
Qu’il vous servist jusques au deffinement.
Maiz vostre gré n’a voulu consentir
Que j’eusse espoir d’avoir allegement,
Et en ce point m’a faillu despartir.

Et par Dieu, belle, se vostre vueil estoit
D’estre piteuse de mon tresdoulx torment,
A ceste foiz ma douleur cesseroit.
Lors me tendroie trop plus joyeusement
Que je ne faiz, car tout mon penseement
Seroit de vous en leesse servir.
Maiz de vous n’ay nul reconfortement,
Et en ce point m’a faillu despartir.

Maiz nonobstant, soit a tort, soit a droit,
Demourer vueil en vostre jugement.
Mon cuer est vostre et sera ou qu’il soit,
Quoy qu’en ayez fait le despartement.
Par Dieu, ma dame, je ne vueil nullement
Autre que vous pour maistresse tenir.
Si m’avez dit que je foiz follement,
Et en ce point m’a faillu despartir.


A vous, belle, tresdoulce dame,
A qui j’ay donné corps et ame,
Cueur et tout ce que je puis avoir,
Faiz oroison et vous reclame
Comme celle par qui j’enflame
Du desir d’amoureux vouloir.
Plaise vous mon fait pourveoir,
Car de tous biens suis despourveu,
Ne n’ay d’avoir nul bien espoir.
Confort ne me veult recevoir.
Je suis de tristesse vestu.

Helas! je mis mon pensement
A vous amer tresloyaulment,
Ne je n’ay nulle autre pensee.
Je parle aux gens le plus souvent
Et si ne sçay quoy ne comment,
Fors que trestout a la volee.
M’amour est en vous arrestee.
Je vous voy tousjours, ce me semble.
Laz! vendra jamais la journee,
Ma princesse tresdesiree,
Que je nous puisse veoir ensemble?

Il m’est advis, ainsi m’aist Dieux,
Que j’ay tousjours devant les yeulx
Vostre non pareille beaulté,
De qui chascun est amoureux,
Les jeunes, aussi sont les vieulx.
Quant ainsi y suis ahurté,
Ne n’a d’autre amer voulenté,
Le cueur qui le me peust souffrir,
Tant m’a conquis vostre bonté,
Que du tout m’y suis ahurté,
Sans jamaiz jour en despartir.

On me peult crier en l’oreille,
Maiz nulle rien ne me resveille
Que vostre bonne renommee.
En veillant ou quant je someille,
Si ay je tousjours la merveille
Des biens dont vous estes louee,
Ma maistresse tresredoubtee,
Tant est vostre corps et esperit.
Ne seuffrez que ma destinee
Soit par vous en douleur finee.
D’autre ne puis avoir respit.

Las! comment peussiés vous savoir
La douleur et le desespouoir
En quoy je suis pour vous amer?
Je n’ay du dire le pouoir
Et congnoiz que n’avez vouloir
De moy ouyr ne escoucter.
Dont vous peut venir tel amer?
Comment le peult Amours souffrir?
Mieulx me vaulsist estre en la mer
Et du tout le monde laissier,
Quant g’y seuffre tel desplaisir.

Mais dont me vient la maladie?
Puisqu’il convient que je le die,
C’est pour celle que je choisy,
De tous biens la mieulx acomplie
Qui soit ne fut jamaiz en vie,
Ainsi m’aist Dieux qu’il est ainsi.
Et puisqu’Amours m’a asservy
A celle querre pour le mieulx,
Si seray du tout sans nul sy,
Actendant sa doulce mercy
Dont maintes gens sont convoiteux.

Las! me vendroit il bien meschance
De choisir la non per de France,
Et de qui on dit plus de bien?
Mon mal me deust estre plaisance,
Et me deust estre souffisance
D’estre tant seulement tout sien.
Car d’elle mieulx vault ung seul rien
Que d’autre ce qu’on pourroit dire.
Et pour ce la mort point ne craing,
Maiz je luy rens ce qui fut mien,
Puisque trouver je ne puis mire.

Las! maintes gens sont par oultrage
Pieça mors, dont c’est dommaige,
Ou par l’oultrage de la mort.
Et moy qui n’ay nul aventage
De bien, mais languis en servage,
Ne puis mourir n’a droit n’a tort.
Je vif en dueil sans reconfort,
Je suis pres de desesperé,
Se Pitié n’est vers moy d’accord.
Maiz je pense que Pitié dort,
Dont je suis tout desconforté.


Ma princesse, tant que je reverray
Voz beaulx yeulx doulx, vostre doulce maniere,
Piteusement en douleur languiray,
Ne plus n’auray une liesse entiere.
Mes yeulx seront de tous poins sans lumiere.
Vostre esloingner me fait mortel traveil,
Ne je n’ay plus confort que regarder
De nuit la lune et de jour le souleil.

Et se m’aist Dieux que je vous serviray,
S’il le convient, sans nulle pensee fiere,
Que vostre vueil du tout accompliray.
Soiez de moy ou piteuse ou murtriere.
Ma voulenté est en vous toute entiere,
Ne ja n’auray de dormir tel sommeil
Que je ne vueille une foiz regarder
De nuit la lune et de jour le souleil.

Savez pourquoy je les regarderay,
M’amour qui estes de mon pouvre cueur biere?
Car advis m’est que mieulx vous verray.
Veoir le povez, pour ce vous foiz priere
Que mon regard tire par une archiere
En vostre cueur, qui n’a point de pareil.
Lors saurez vous pourquoy vueil regarder
De nuit la lune et de jour le souleil.


N’a pas longtemps que je cuidoye
Estre hors du dangier d’Amours,
Et des amoureux me mocquoye
Quant leur veoie faire leurs tours.
Maiz or suis je tout a rebours,
Car j’ay entreprins la folie
De ceste meschant aymerie,
Dont il me fault, a dire veoir,
Souvent parler en resverie.
C’est maulvaiz mal que de renchoir.

Je suis trop pis que ne souloie.
J’ay de mes souhaiz le rebours.
J’ay pis que dire ne pourroye,
Torment, desplaisir et doulours,
Sans esperance de secours
Trouver vers ma mortel amye,
Car de mercy est desgarnie.
Maiz sa doulceur me donne espoir
De guerir de ma maladie.
C’est maulvaiz mal que de renchoir.

La beaulté et ma seulle joye
Me fera definer mes jours.
Quant elle vient, ou que je soye,
Estre prés pour oyr mes plours,
En luy ne treuve nul secours
Pour m’oster de forcenerie.
Ouir ne veult rien que je die.
Las! comment pourra elle savoir
Mon penser et ma muserie?
C’est maulvais mal que de renchoir.

Maiz plus me plaist, par mon serement,
En avoir douloreux tourment
Et en souffrir mainte destresse
Pour l’aymer fort et loyaulment
Et la veir tant seulement,
Mon dieu et ma seulle princesse,
Que d’autre toute la leesse
Avoir que souhaidier pourroye.
Mon cueur du tout lui fait promesse
Qu’autre ne prandra a maistresse,
Pour nul mal qu’endurer en doye.

Car j’ay trop bien la congnoissance
Qu’il n’a point de pareille en France
De tout bien que dire on pourroit.
Sa beaulté et sa contenance
Me font avoir mal en plaisance.
Se chascun bien la congnoissoit,
Tout le monde estre vouldroit
A elle, ainsi m’aist Dieux.
Ja loyaulté ne l’en tendroit,
Ne par faulx tenuz n’en seroit,
Car c’est le dieu des autres dieux.

Et puisqu’elle a tant de beaulté,
D’onneur, de gracieuseté,
Que de biens c’est la non pareille,
Ne doy je estre reconforté
Se je seuffre mal et durté
Et se j’ay la puce en l’oreille?
Se pour s’amour je me resveille
Alors que je deusse dormir,
Il ne m’en chault, car c’est pour celle
Qui est du monde la plus belle,
Et pour ce m’en doy resjouir.

Par Dieu, Amours, je ne vouldroie,
Ne pour rien ne me tendroye,
Que d’elle ne fusse amoureux
Pour chose qu’avenir m’en doye.
Ne cesseray, ou que je soye,
De la servir de bien en mieulx.
Et s’il plairoit a ses beaulx yeulx
Monstrer que de moy fust contente,
J’en seroye plus desireux
D’acomplir son vueil en tous lieux,
Et y mectroye toute m’entente.

Et plust a Dieu qu’elle sceust bien
Comme mon cueur est du tout sien,
Maugré les jaloux plains d’envie.
Sur toutes a elle me tien.
Je ne pense a nulle rien
Qu’a sa treshaulte seigneurie
Et aux biens dont elle est garnie,
Esperant que ung temps vendra,
Ne laisseray pour jalousie,
Qu’elle me soit dame et amye.
Maiz je ne sçay quant ce sera.

Seroit bien Amours si contraire
Vers moy et de si rude affaire
De m’avoir pourchassié ma mort?
Amours m’a fait, pour lui complaire,
De toutes autres me retraire
Pour la servir jusqu’a la mort,
Et ad ce faire suis d’accord.
Or m’en doint Dieux telle nouvelle
Que j’en puisse prendre confort,
Car sien seray, soit droit ou tort,
Quant c’est des bonnes la plus belle.

Amours, se peusse tant veiller
Qu’en veillant peusse espier
Une estoille qui voulsist cheoir,
Tost me verriés agenoillier
Et envers les dieux supplier
Qu’ilz me voulsissent pourveoir.
Car ma dame m’a dit, pour voir,
Que ce que on requiert adoncques,
Le requerant le doit avoir.
Et j’en vueil la verité savoir,
Pour ce que je ne le sceuz oncques.


Belle, des bonnes non pareille,
Pourquoy m’entra tant en l’oreille
Le bien de vostre renommee?
Las! que n’estoit ma veue troublee
Quant je viz de vous la merveille!

Car en veillant mon cueur sommeille,
Et en dormant il me resveille,
Pensant a ma folle pensee.
Belle, des bonnes non pareille,
Pourquoy m’entra tant en l’oreille
Le bien de vostre renommee?

Pieça sçavez que m’appareille,
Seulle des autres despareille,
A vous servir, toute louee.
Mort ou mercy me soit donnee.
Ne souffrez plus que me traveille.

Belle, des bonnes non pareille.
Pourquoy m’entra tant en l’oreille
Le bien de vostre renommee?
Las! que n’estoit ma veue troublee
Quant je viz de vous la merveille!


Si fort m’ont pleu les tresors des hauls biens
Qui sont en vous, ainsi vrayement m’aist Dieux,
Que, sans cesser, j’ay esté envieux
D’estre tout vostre, et pour vostre me tiens.

Le cueur, le corps qui jadis furent miens
Veullent tous deux que vous soiez mon mieulx,
Si fort m’ont pleu les tresors des hauls biens
Qui sont en vous, ainsi vrayement m’aist Dieux.

Las! je suis riens et ne me donnez riens
Qui conforter puist mon mal envieux.
Et si soutien mon mal tresangoisseux
Bien doulcement, car par vous le soustiens.

Si fort m’ont pleu les tresors des hauls biens
Qui sont en vous, ainsi vrayement m’aist Dieux,
Que, sans cesser, j’ay esté envieux
D’estre tout vostre, et pour vostre me tiens.


Celle qui est belle, doulce et plaisant,
Toute bonne, des autres non pareille,
Vostre renom m’a tout emply l’oreille,
Mes yeulx ne voient que vous que j’ayme tant.

Desir me va nuyt et jour atisant
Et me dit: «Ayme, car je le te conseille,
Celle qui est belle, doulce et plaisant,
Toute bonne, des autres non pareille.

Puisqu’Amours, a qui suis obeissant,
Veult que du tout a amer m’appareille,
J’aymeray tant que ce sera merveille,
Et serviray, son honneur acroissant,

Celle qui est belle, doulce et plaisant,
Toute bonne, des autres non pareille.
Vostre renom m’a tout emply l’oreille.
Mes yeulx ne voient que vous que j’ayme tant.
78. The Book of Messire Ode

I wish to begin a book
And to send it to my lady
Just as I promised her,
In which all my works will be inscribed.
Not all but a portion
I will tell of my melancholy.
Love, out of your good will
It pleased you to instruct me
To choose a mistress.
I chose her, full of youth,
Of virtues, of perfect beauty,
Of gentleness and joyful countenance.
Her look is marvelously sweet.
Among all women she is without peer,
And for this reason I wished to choose her,
Hoping that I might arrive
At the supreme reward of lovers.
But I find myself severely distressed
For having dared to say too much,
For I told her all that I was thinking,
Believing that it would be better for me.
But Rejection, the envious one,
Is against me with all its power.
Danger comes forth from the other side,
And it is there when I should be.
Then I don’t know what to do.
When I think about speaking to her,
Danger, next to her, cries out,
And Rejection is on the other side.
In this condition am I ruled.
Then I no longer dare to say a word.
But her refusal pleases me more
Than to have all the other goods
In the world that are not mine.
I wish to serve her until death
And banish all other women behind me
In favor of her, exclusively.
I wish to be hers as a liege,
To serve her with heart and soul,
Loyally, as my only lady
And the mistress of my will.
In this state I wish to remain,
Nor do I want ever to tire of it
For anything that I might endure,
Hoping that at some future time
Her will will change
And she will have pity on my plaints
And on the pains of which I complain.
But the wait is making me languish
And come to a very piteous end
Because of Desire, which burns and inflames me.
Memory joins forces with it.
They make me think upon her beauty,
And by these two am I ruled.
They seize me from the front and from behind.
They often make me lose composure.
When I ought to speak, I think.
I can neither eat nor drink,
So much am I overcome by love.
Love, why have I undertaken
To desire so great a good?
I wish my death, and I feel like I’m dead.
I am worth no more than a dead man is,
For a man who is without comfort
In the world cannot be worth anything.
Alas, what has become of Hope
Which promised to comfort me?
It should not have abandoned me.
So had it promised me.
It is the best of my friends.
I know very well that when it returns,
It will blame me very strongly
For despairing in this way,
But I don’t know which way to turn,
So much does my malady oppress me.
I am in mortal state of frenzy,
And I believe that I would already be dead
Were it not for a bit of comfort
That came to me from Hope, saying
That I am wrong to become discouraged
And to carry on in so harsh a way
And to be subject to despair.
And it says, if I can endure,
I will see my sorrow turn
Into joy again quite soon,
And that abundantly of the rewards of Love
I will have, whatever anyone says.
Loyalty will be a friend to me
And it will help me to arrive
At the supreme good that I desire.
And as I was thinking thus
And taking comfort in hope,
I threw myself upon a bed
In order to rest myself a bit,
And I tried hard to fall asleep,
But because of Memory,
I could not truly sleep or rest.
And so I set my thought
To beginning a ballade,
And I wrote it like a sick man
And recorded it in my book,
And if you like, you may read it.


Forsaken by joy and happiness,
Filled with grief and sorrowful plaints,
Sad, pensive, deprived of happiness,
Driven by love’s torments to despair,
Completely removed from all joyous pleasures,
Now, more than I could ever say,
I am assailed by the very worst of torments.
I find myself stricken with grief and rage.
Without liberty, I am found in servitude,
Such that I feel my heart both burn and freeze.
More and more I am the heir of pain.
I have the opposite of what I desire.

In my early youth I am destitute
Of that which a lover ought to desire.
I will say no more; I know well what wounds me.
I would be sorry to be so unfortunate
That everyone knew of my grievous pain,
Of which I have much more than I could write.
A single path leads my heart astray,
Makes me languish and go through this passage.
What do you say? Should I be satisfied?
What more will I say? In the flower of my life,
I have the opposite of what I desire.

Danger attacks me; Rejection hurts and wounds me.
One day I am excessively melancholy
And another day, Hope makes me a promise
That despite all, it will make me joyous.
In this condition I must grow old.
No one can oppose Fortune,
Be it right or wrong, be it pleasure or suffering.
A pleasing folly has kept me from being wise.
No sort of shield does me any good.
Well am I kept from singing and from laughing,
So that I say out loud, furiously:
“I have the opposite of what I desire.”

Young and gracious one, my beautiful princess,
I do not seek the path or route to healing
Except through you, who are my true physician.
Relieve me of the worst of all my pains.
Allow no more that I say boorishly,
“I have the opposite of what I desire.”

When I had finished my ballade
And recorded it in my book,
I began again to bewail my grief,
Saying to Love, “Upon the threshold
I am of the Inn of Sadness.
Danger attacks me, Rejection wounds me.
Against them I cannot defend myself.
I would have had to surrender to them long ago
Were it not for Hope, which comforts me.
It exhorts me still to serve well,
But my pain oppresses me so strongly
And I am so afflicted with sorrow
That I could hardly endure.
Love, must I be banished
From the Tower of Happiness,
I, who am in the flower of youth?
Have pity on my sorrow
And on my piteous cry.
Don’t allow me to be undone
When I have undertaken this for you.
Send Pity and Humility
In haste unto my mistress
To beg her that to succor me
It please her, by her pleasure,
For never did a servant, by my soul,
Serve any lady more loyally
Than I wish to serve her
In every circumstance, and to obey
All of her good commands.
She is my god; I count on her
To make me live or die
Or very piteously to languish,
Whichever will seem good to her.
For my heart will not oppose
Anything that is ordained by her.
My will is fixed upon that point.
And if I die in serving her,
I make her a present of my soul.
I have nothing more to give her.
Lady of ladies, alone without peer,
I am your serf and a serf I remain.
Consider if you will do well
To let me perish in this way
By failing to come to my aid.”
As I thus went on lamenting
And bringing my sorrow back to mind
Like a man in a frenzied state,
Engulfed in great malady,
Sleep took hold of me, and I fell asleep.
In my sleep I had a dream,
And in my dream it seemed to me
That all about me was a garden
Beautiful and pleasant and gracious,
Encircled by trees, covered with flowers.
In the trees the birds were singing,
And in their song they rejoiced.
The place was marvelously beautiful.
The paths were marked by trellises,
And in between, by pavilions.
And of flowerbeds, square and rectangular,
There were quite a few, full of little flowers,
White, violet, and red.
With little meadows of green grass
The entire path was covered.
Then I went, it seemed to me,
To sit in the place where best I found
That no one could perceive me
To better call to mind my grief.
And then I began my lament anew,
And I made, in the manner of a complainte,
One that I have set down here in writing
So that I might better remember it.


My god, my lady, my mistress,
To you I complain of my intense burning
From the pain of love which wounds me so grievously
And has already held me long in languor.
And I complain, full of sorrow and tears,
To you, my mistress, whom I call more than friend
And will so call all the days of my life.
Comfort me, so that I might have relief.
I place myself entirely in your judgment:
Pass judgment on me as both judge and party.

And if I complain and rage and shout,
Pardon me, I pray you humbly,
For I have a pain that binds me so strongly
That I could have absolutely no joy
Nor comfort that might help me in any way
To relieve my sorrowful affliction.
What will I say to you? I am so distressed,
I do not live at all; all I do is languish.
Thus I beseech you, when it comes for me to die,
Pray for me, please, all you lovers.

And make sorrow, all young joyous hearts,
That for loving and serving loyally
I must end in tears and piteous laments,
And without receiving help in any way
Except from Hope, which says with certainty
That it will help me remove the suffering
That my heart feels. But there is only one physician
That can turn my wrath into a pleasant desire.
Therefore I will endure, while carrying on my grief.
What more can I do if I refrain from laughing?

And if I appear to have great anger,
It troubles me, and yet I could refrain.
But my sorrow is getting worse and worse.
Therefore I must sigh and moan.
I see that I must end in languishing,
And my heart says that in languor it will end
And that it will completely abandon joy.
But before it dies, I will say to my mistress:
“Lady without peer, for you I give up joy.
Do with me anything that you please.

“For thus my wish will be forever more
To serve you, such is my will,
Nor will it ever cease to be so,
Hoping that your laughing eye
And the sweetness of your fair welcome
Might have pity on my piteous suffering.
I will endure my grievous sorrows humbly,
And singing a very sorrowful song,
I say and will say, wherever I might be,
I am always at your command.”

So should I be, without changing,
Completely, to the one who is without equal
In honor, in goodness, in charm as well.
Often, however, I lie awake in thought,
And in thinking, I often marvel
At the sorrow that she makes me endure,
Given that long ago I wished to give to her
My heart, my body, fully and exclusively.
I put all my effort into serving her.
That is my wish; that is my loyal intention:

To serve her, honor her, and fear her
Forever more, as long as I last.
I will call her, without any exception,
Lady, mistress, and my only beloved.
In this wish I will make my destiny,
Hoping that I might deserve better.
I wish to be more and more attentive
In serving her with all of my power.
Awaiting that I might have some joy,
I am and will be even more desirous

To carry out her wish in every place,
So that her will might wish to retain me
As her servant. Then my stakes will double
And my displeasure will turn into pleasure.
For a long time now, all I do is languish
And I have long been in such a state of languor
While awaiting that, out of her great gentleness,
She might wish to give me some comfort.
Without reserve, I wish always to call her
My most gentle heart and my loyal love.

Have pity and be full of gentleness,
Lady without peer, complete in every virtue.
Have pity on the great burning
Of the pain of love that binds me so strongly.
Come to me, saying: “I release you.”
No one else but you can comfort me.
You can rule me according to your will.
For a long time now I have been in servitude
So greatly that I lose strength, color, and speech.
Sighing, I wish that I were far at sea!

Say if I am wrong to be discouraged
And while weeping, to curse my life.
For no lover ever suffered such bitterness
As I do. I don’t know what I am saying!
I surrender to you; do not desert me!
My heart, my body, I present entirely to you,
Piteously, far from the path of joy.
Most humbly do I come to beseech you
That you please retain me as your servant.
My beautiful, good, young, joyous, gracious lady.

I can sustain my complaint no longer,
To tell the truth, for death pursues me
Most ardently, but I want to consider myself
Furnished with Hope, praying it that it obtain
From my lady my reward, and that it expel
Unhappiness from me entirely.
I am carried off without anything to sustain me.
I know no longer what I might become.
Moaning and full of burning desire,
Sighing, I have abandoned pleasure.

As I was writing down my plaint
And placing it in my book,
I saw come very happily
One who sang joyously.
The words of his song were:


Well should I consider myself in joy,
When I see everyone who is destitute
And who grieves for the rewards of love,
I who have what I desired.

I could not wish for better.
I surpass the others who are lucky.
Well should I consider myself in joy,
When I see everyone who is destitute.

I wish that I could grant
To all faithful lovers
Ladies to make them joyous.
As for me, wherever I am,

Well should I consider myself in joy,
When I see everyone who is destitute
And who grieves for the rewards of love,
I who have what I desired.

After he had sung his song,
He listened to the birds
Who sang very sweetly.
It was a great pleasure.
And he set about making a floral chaplet
Which was very beautiful, it seems to me,
For he had enough with which to make it.
Of flowers there were many a pair.
Upon his head he quickly placed it
And then sat down on the grass
And he began a ballade.
It wasn’t made by a sickly man.
You will find the ballade here.
You will be able to read it, if you like.


I give thanks to Love and to my lady
Who keep me in such happiness,
For not a single displeasure, by my soul,
Do I have, from any sadness.
I feel neither sorrow nor distress.
I am the luckiest of lovers.
What is it to be sorrowful?
As for me, I don’t know at all,
But I am occupied with pleasure.
I have no other malady.

Thus it will be written on my tomb
When Death becomes my mistress
That loyally, with no dishonor,
I always served my princess
The entire time of my youth,
Without being distressed by pain
And desirous of nothing.
You judge: don’t I have a good life
Always to be in such great joy?
I have no other malady.

Let him who wishes complain and protest
About Danger, Rejection, and Distress.
I neither praise nor blame them,
For they do not oppress me at all.
Fair Welcome guides my goddess,
Sweet Regard governs her eyes,
And both of these are friends to me.
Loyalty has not been lacking
Should I not say in every place:
I have no other malady?

Prince of Love, may God protect my soul
And body from false envious ones,
And may he grant to all true lovers
The seigniory of pleasure,
For as for me, so help me God,
I have no other malady.

From his appearance, he wasn’t at all
Afflicted with melancholy
As I am at present.
For if he came joyously,
He goes away more joyous still.
He is not weary of carrying on his joy.
He does not fear sickness or death.
As he left, he sang loud and vigorously,
But soon he was in the woods,
And I could not hear his voice.
Then I resumed complaining of my sorrow
Piteously, and without hesitating
To call upon Love for mercy
And upon my beautiful lady too.
        But I do not know what they will do,
Nor if they will have mercy on me.
They can in every way destroy me
Or in little time restore me,
Whichever seems good to them,
For my desire will not change
For any pain that I might endure.
And in order better to show
That my suffering is too harsh for me,
Out of distress I have dressed in black,
Without wearing any other color,
Until such time that my sorrow ceases
And I arrive at happiness
By the desire of my mistress.
And I am so content with my grief
And so much does it please while wounding me,
When I considered that it is for her
Who above all women is without peer.
“Thus,” I say to myself, “My friend,
Aren’t you content to have placed yourself
With her in whom all virtues abound,
The flower of beauty of the entire world?
By serving well you will arrive

At the rewards that you will seek.”
Thus at times does Hope serve me.
At other times Despair overcomes me.
Desire attacks and makes war upon me.
Memory often makes me cry out
And say, “Alas! When will I see again
My lady, and when will I speak
To her charming, fair beauty?
My eyes will be in darkness
And piteously will I languish
Until the time that I see her again.
When I am there, this know I well,
Her wish will not be mine.
Thus I don’t know what to do,
To go there or to draw further away.”
        Then I thought that I would write
And that I would send my letter to her.


My god, my lady, my mistress,
To your very charming youth
I commend myself as many times
As one could place peas
One upon another up to the sky,
Desiring ever more and more
To hear sweet news of you,
Praying God that it be such
That you are still in joy,
For thus would I desire it.
And if you like, out of your humbleness,
To hear of my piteous distress,
Please know, my dreaded one
And my well beloved lady,
That my heart does nothing but languish,
Complain, weep, and often moan,
So firmly have I set my will
On serving you very loyally
In heart, in body, and in thought.
Thus I beseech you, my only beloved,
That it might be your sweet pleasure
To cause me to rejoice a bit.
Then will I sing very happily.
I wish to sing joyously
And to show by my joyous expression
That I have hope of gaining happiness
And that, by my mistress’s will,
I will have an abundance of rewards.
Make me a gift of your mercy,
Oh lady, fair and gentle in every way.
Make me put on a happy countenance.
None but you has the power to do so.
Make me remove my black attire
And dress me in happiness instead.
Don’t allow me to remain in sadness.
Turn my plaints into joy.
I call myself your servant alone,
Beseeching you very humbly
That you consider me your servant.
Then I will have wealth enough,
For never will I grow tired
Of cherishing, serving, and fearing you.
Not a single day do I wish to fail
To carry out your good wish,
Letting you know, my lady,
That it seems to me that you would do wrong
To allow me to suffer death,
You who can rescue me.
Now do what you please about it,
For if I die, upon my soul, I say
That it is for the most beautiful lady
Who ever walked upon this earth.
For God’s sake, may it not displease you,
My god, my lady, my only physician,
If I embolden myself to write to you.
I don’t know if it will turn out
Worse or better for me, which it will be.
And therefore no more for the present
Do I write to you about my torment,
But I pray earnestly to God
That he give you joy, health, and honor
And rewards in great abundance,
And a willingness that your humbleness
Thus have pity on my cries,
So that my sorrow might cease.
Written in the place that
He who carries this letter will tell you.

When I had composed my entire letter,
Closed it, sealed, and copied it,
I thought that I would send it
Just as soon as I could
Unto my lady in all haste.
Then I called at once
A very loyal servant of mine
Whom I loved with all my heart,
Who formerly had been
To her who is the object of my wish,
And I told him to go at once
To my lady, and to hasten
As quickly as possible to return,
And if he was able to speak to her,
That he request her most humbly
That she wish to reduce my torment
And to ease my piteous laments
And the sorrow in which I remain.
My servant took his leave from me
And I told him to remember
What I had said to him.
Then he set out upon his way
There where he was supposed to go.
Alone I remained in my garden,
And I said to myself, “Fair sweet gods,
Will I be distressed or joyous?
Will I have joy or unhappiness?
Oh, God, when will he return?
I hope that he will bring to me
Tidings that will please me well.
Would my lady really have pity
Upon my very painful grief?
Oh, would to God that He bring it about!
Love, have mercy upon me!
Come to my aid at this time!”
Then I heard near a wood
A voice, so as it seemed to me,
That said to me, “Fair sweet friend,
Sing and make an effort to recover,
For I say to you, and without lying,
That from your lady you will have great good
And she will take you for her own.”
It said no more; I don’t know where it went.
But I know well that because of this
I felt myself a little gladdened.
But just as soon as it was gone,
Despair returned from behind
In order to make me change my mood.
And then I no longer knew what to say.
Too painful was my suffering.
        Oh lady, must I be expelled
From the Inn of Joy,
For serving well, for loving strongly
Your fair beauty without peer?
Will you let me spend my whole life
So long a time dressed in black
Because of despair?
Oh Death, bring about my end.
My sorrow is too painful
And causes me too great an anguish.
        Complaining thus, I made a song
Of which I have written here the words,
But I did not wish at all to sing it.


I know no longer what to ask
When nothing do you wish to grant.
My asking would amount to nought.
Deprived I am of every good
Today more than ever before.

My grief begins to grow stronger
And my joy to decrease.
Pity does not want to take my side.
I know no longer what to ask
When nothing do you wish to grant.
My asking would amount to nought.

Do not allow me to despair,
But instead, please comfort me.
I hold myself your servant alone
And humbly do I come to ask,
In short, for death or mercy.

I know no longer what to ask
When nothing do you wish to grant.
My asking would amount to nought.
Deprived I am of every good,
Today more than ever before.

Better to be silent than speak folly.
I can easily refrain from laughing
About the fact that I told my wish
To her who has the power
To return my heart to joy.
But more than I was accustomed,
I am pensive and melancholy
Since I told her of my sorrows.
But I believed to be doing the best.
Now I cannot take it back.
        While I carried on in this way,
Full of tears, my head inclined,
I saw enter into the garden
A handsome young squire
Who was complaining bitterly
And seemed to be very sorrowful.
And he said, in the manner of a lament:
“Love, I suffer many a sorrow.
Formerly I would sing and laugh,
And Sorrow wishes to destroy me
Wrongly and without any cause.
Will you allow something so unjust,
For me, who serve you so loyally?
Being in your service would be worth very little
If Happiness and I were not in accord.
Love, set my lady back
On the path of helping me.
Then you will see me greatly rejoice
And make the minstrels blow their horns.
Love, I beseech you, allow me
To have some relief from you.”
While he went, lamenting thus,
A young woman came up to him,
Young, gracious, pretty, and fair,
And said to him, “My lady sends me
To tell you to be in joy.
Now get up, come with me
And don’t be distressed any longer.”
He thanked her very gently
And he went away with her.
And I, who remained alone,
Recommenced my piteous grief,
Saying, “Love, you distribute your goods
Abundantly and sufficiently
To everyone except to me.
Alas! I don’t know why it’s so.
I don’t think that I have committed a fault
Or done anything wrong to you
For which I ought to have such punishment
That there is not an hour in the week
That my pain does not keep growing.
My days end in languishing.
Oh Death, come! I surrender to you!”
Then entered within the garden
My servant, secretly,
And humbly he greeted me.
Then I asked, “What news?”
He told me that it was good and fair:
That my lady greeted me
And that she had taken my letter
And had made him good cheer.
But Danger was so close behind
That he could not speak to her
Nor tell her what he wished,
Except only as he left,
She told him if I wished to come
To a place that I had chosen,
That I would have good cheer from her.
No more did he speak to her.
He took his leave and returned.
When he had given his whole report,
Then I begged him very strongly
To tell me how she seemed
And if she wished me good or ill.
Then he swore to me with an oath
That truly it appeared to him
That one day I would have her grace.
God wish that it be so
That I might obtain her grace.
It’s the only reward that I desire.
And if one day I can have it,
I will do my loyal duty
To serve her so loyally
In heart, in body, in thought,
That never was any lady cherished,
Feared, dreaded, or served
As I will serve her,
For I will carry out her every wish
Within my power, better and better,
So that her heart will be joyous
To have my heart to serve it.
Oh, Love! Let me come
To the rewards of your domain.
Take away my melancholy
And put my heart beyond reach of pain.
Then I began to write a lay
And I named it here in writing
“The Lai of Tears,” awaiting relief.


Love, Love, formerly I used to
Sing, dance, and carry on joy,
            And now
Sorrow assails and makes war upon me.
I am on the path of Despair.
            Because of my boldness
In saying too much, I am now
Assailed sorrowfully
            By Distress,
Which treats me so harshly
That soon will I be dead
            By its efforts.

If I die, will you not be wrong
To allow me to suffer death
            For serving well?
I will say that Loyalty is asleep
When it does not give me comfort
            To gladden
My heart, which does nothing but languish
At the instigation of Burning Desire.
            Both night and day,
It does nothing but cry and moan,
Nor can it collect any reward
            Other than sorrow.

Have pity on my cry,
My mistress and my only love.
            Take pity
To see me in such languishing
And to hear my piteous weeping.
            Gracious, joyful lady,
Be attentive to healing me.
Fair, charming, and gracious one,
            You will do well:
Turn my darkened life
Into a perfect life of joy.
            Take me as your own.

My heart is yours, not my own,
For your gracious conduct
            Took it from me
And seized it and wants it as its own.
Give it either happiness or nothing.
            My wish
Is to endure the cruelty
Of Love, thinking that Loyalty
            Will aid me;
And that she will give me joy,
The one in whom resides all beauty,
            When it pleases her.
My sorrow will then be turned
Into happiness, and my grief
            Will turn into joy.
Hope tells me that it will be so.
Fair Welcome says that it will instruct her
            That I be loved.
Alas! if only I could be loved,
I would ask for nothing more.
            I would have enough.
But Rejection wars against me strongly,
So that I don’t know what I should say,
            So completely am I beaten.

Should I not be worn out
From having endured so many pains
            And so much suffering?
God of Love, comfort
My heart which is distressed,
            For Death rules it
And wishes to lead it into his domain.
Oh, pity! my sovereign lady,
            Make my grief
Cease just once a week.
Release me from this suffering
            That I receive

There where I am dead upon the threshold
Because of Desire, in whose grip I am.
            And I cannot,
Unless it is by your sweet will,
Recover. I am, more than I am accustomed,
            Near to the door
Of Despair. I am assailed
By Discouragement. And I don’t find
            Anyone to help me,
However close I am to death.
Thus I will have to be led off
            To its abode.

Should I not curse the fate
By which I often moan and cry,
            And the look
Which pleased me so excessively?
From it I received this wound.
            It was the dart
Which wounded me both early and late.
Because of it, my heart trembles and burns.
            God of Love,
Will I be Joy’s bastard child?
Will I have rolled an unlucky number
            In the game of joy?

Haven’t I been melancholy,
Oh young, gracious beauty with fair eyes,
            For a long time?
Leave me no longer in a state of desire.
By God, fair one, you will do better,
            For without reason
I am long without healing
And I have an abundance of pain,
            For which I sigh
For the fact that I lose my well-being.
I am locked up in sorrow.
            Should I then laugh?

Tell me, should I be satisfied?
I feel the worst of all pains.
            Were it not for Hope,
I would be dead, without further denial.
But it tells me that it should suffice
            For me
To remain its servant, dressed in black,
Waiting to have Mercy
            When it pleases her.
And may this be her wish;
My happiness, to tell the truth,
            Will return.

She can do whatever she likes.
My wish will not change
            To be a pilgrim
During the time to come.
I hope that it will be better for me
            In the end.
Thus I pray from my heart to Saint Valentine
That he be disposed to succor me
            Against the sorrow
Which possesses me both evening and morning.
And thus do I wish to bring to an end
            The Lai of Tears.

Then when I had finished my lai
And recorded it in my book,
As I was sleeping, it seemed to me
That I drew near to the country
Where resided my only joy,
She whom I so much desired to see.
Then I thought that I would go see her
In order to remind her of my sorrow
And to see if I would fare any better.
        But I find her, so help me God,

So well surrounded by Rejection
That I am completely discomfited.
But her rebuffs are so pleasing
And her disdain is so appealing
That her refusal pleases me more
Than all the goods that one could think
Of having, if they came not from her.
Thus has my case grown worse,
For formerly I lived in hope.
Now I am in despair.
For the other day, when I departed,
I left without taking leave of her,
Thinking to hide my malady.
But I quickly recognized my folly
And I know that she was displeased.
Then I sent to her to ask
That it please her to pardon me
And to relieve my sorrow.
I had the pardon without the relief,
And I learned that she was not disposed
To wish to keep me as her own.
Therefore piteously must I languish
Without having any cure
For the grievous pains of which I have so many.
Therefore I have composed a ballade.
Languishing, extremely ill,
I wrote it and put it in my book.
If you like, you may read it.


Dead and not dead, languishing in sadness,
And far removed from all rewards of love,
Dressed in black and naked of happiness,
Surrounded by envious Rejection,
Full of most melancholy thought
Am I for my lady, who does not wish to love me.
Alas! Love, please counsel her
That her will and her sweet grace might be
To cure me and relieve my pain,
For my sorrow totally blots out my heart.

Alas! Am I to end my youth
In tears, in plaints, in mournful sighs?
Will I never find the way to relief?
Will my heart remain forever in such anguish,
Oh young, gracious, gentle beauty with fair eyes?
Lacking hope, I am near to despairing.
Does it please you well to let me meet my end?
Is it your will that I should perish?
Comfort me, for I need it badly,
For my sorrow totally blots out my heart.

I send to you to ask, your humbleness,
For pardon that I have been ungracious.
For my grievous pain constrains and wounds me
So greatly that, so help me God,
I know not what to do, so greatly do I desire
To obtain that which I cannot find:
It is your love, fair lady without peer,
But you do not wish to be anywhere near to me,
For which I feel that I surely must go mad,
For my sorrow totally blots out my heart.

My God, my lady, my most gentle mistress,
I cannot recover from my harsh distress
If not through you. Tell me what to do.
Comfort me, please, my goddess,
For my sorrow totally blots out my heart.

When thus I finished my ballade,
Extremely ill with sorrow,
I sighed very tenderly,
Lamenting piteously
The sorrows that I receive for her,
Saying to myself, “She is the one
Who surpasses all other women in goodness.
She is the ruby who eclipses all.”
While I was in this thought,
I saw enter into the garden
A messenger who came to me,
Saying, “Sorrow sends me to you
And declares to you that it comes to lodge
Within your heart without delay,
And with it will be Rejection,
Nor will it leave Danger behind.
Together with a multitude of soldiers,
You will soon perceive them.
And it also told me that Memory,
Accompanied by Burning Desire,
Would not budge from your heart
And would keep it company.”
He said no more; he departed from me,
Nor did I know what happened to him.
Then I began to cry, “Alas!
Love, am I within your bonds
So strongly wrapped
That my heart feels only torment?
From day to day my sorrow grows,
And it receives not a single pleasure.
When I am close to my lady,
I find myself distant from her love,
And when I am far, Burning Desire
Makes me remember seeing her.”
And thus, grievously ill,
I have written here a ballade.


Sorrow declares to me that it keeps its fortress
Within my heart, and will be garrisoned there,
And that with it, it will retain Sadness.
These two will have soldiers aplenty.
For with them, in order to strengthen the house,
Will be Desire, to carry out the assault,
And Memory, the valiant champion.
These two have already chosen their position.

They have handed over the large main tower
And the main donjon to Discouragement,
And they have ordered Despair to draw near
And to hasten, for now is its time.
Danger will be given lodging, for it is proper,
And with it Rejection, have no doubt.
Each will bear a club in its hand.
These two have already chosen their position.

All of these have sworn that if Happiness
Comes near, they’ll throw it into prison.
But I greatly fear that it will hardly approach
Unless from Pity I find some relief.
Alas! Love, you do great wrong
To keep me in so piteous a state,
In tears, in plaints; it is my destruction.
These two have already chosen their position.


More and more I see my sorrow
Renew and my laments increase
I feel my heart within the Lake of Tears,
And my eyes are all washed out from weeping.
My heart is already in every way so lifeless,
I am completely mute when I should speak,
I must stay awake when I am supposed to sleep,
And all this does she who is without peer,
Who in this state wishes to make me languish.

Desire holds me in its bonds by night and day,
And Memory seizes me between its hands.
Fair Welcome comes to welcome me into its tower,
Saying to me, “You see that I am not slow
To love you. I declare you to be well loved.
But more than that I do not wish to grant,
Nor do I wish to keep any other as my own.”
All this says to me she who is without peer,
Who in this state wishes to make me languish.

How will I be able to leave off my cries
And the thoughts by which I am so strongly afflicted?
How will I have the power and strength
To bear the pains by which I am oppressed
And the sadness with which I am totally stricken
When my princess does not wish to grant
The gift of “lover,” nor keep me as her own?
My heart is doomed to despair because of her
Who in this state wishes to make me languish.


Since it pleases the fair one to have me die,
I am content, so truly help me God,
And I would rather receive because of her
As many pains as a lover ever did
Than from another woman to have joy.
So let her do anything she pleases,
For in this state my heart wishes to stay.
My eyes desire it and my thought as well.
And they both say, “One could never see
A fairer lady, faultless in every way.”

Her great beauty places the memory
Within my heart which binds me everywhere,
And furthermore, Burning Desire pursues me,
Which compels me strongly to desire
To see her noble gracious self again.
And her rejection puts me in despair
When she does not wish to take me as her own
Nor to have any mercy on my pain.
Nevertheless, one could not see
A fairer lady, faultless in every way.

What will I tell you? All I do is moan
And sigh, as one who is very sorrowful.
I have all the pains that one could ever feel.
I am pensive and melancholy.
I have a great desire to serve her,
And yet I greatly fear remaining near her,
For I am afraid that someone could perceive
The wish that I have had until now
To love her, for one can not see
A fairer lady, faultless in every way.

While I was composing my ballades
In my dream, and while lamenting,
It seemed to me that I drew near to her
Who is the fairest lady in the world,
And that I asked her for her mercy,
That it please her to restore me to joy,
Saying to her, as one entirely hers:
“My heart is yours; it is not my own.
I beg you, please keep it and protect it.”
Then she responded with a sweet disdain
And with so gracious a rebuff
That I was entirely confounded,
Saying to me, “I do not want
To keep it all, but one portion
Of your heart I will surely keep,
And the other I will return to you.”
But I did not wish to accept it,
Nor could I say anything to her.
But she then went on to say
That she would have no one as her own,
Nor would she ever be only mine.
Then I fell completely silent
And I didn’t know what more to say to her.
But so that no one perceive my anger,
I humbly said goodbye to her,
And while speaking to her, I saw
That she was very deep in thought.
        Alas! What is her thought?
Is it piteous of my suffering?
I don’t know what to think or say.
I want to die in serving her.
I would not dare return to her
Any day of my life,
Lest someone perceive my malady.
Far from her I could not live.
Thus I am going to destroy myself
And put myself to death with my own two hands.
Oh, Love! I rightly complain about you,
If you allow me to die
And end so piteously
That my soul will be damned
And my life dishonored
For having put myself to death.
It is better that, out of discouragement,
I leave the world entirely
And that I destroy myself.
Then I will be dishonored,
When they say that out of cowardice
I will have fled from the battle.
Alas! I don’t know how to seek a cure.
I have no wish to think of anything
Except only how to shorten my life
In order to hasten my death.
        While I was in such a turmoil,
I thought that I would challenge
Someone to combat, and that I’d write
To him very quickly
In order to make my death
More honorable, to the extent I could,
And more agreeable to my heart
To end in this way
Than either of the two other options.
Then I composed a summons to arms,
Sealed with the seal of my arms,
Which is here in writing
So that I might better remember it.


In the name of God, of our Lady, and of my lady St. Katherine, out of love of my
mortal folly, to you, Lord of Cornwall, I send my letter, informing you, as one of
the most worthy and most renowned knights of the party of the king of England,
that, on account of my heart which I have newly lost, I have undertaken to
challenge you to combat by this letter. And do not take it as an act of pride, for,
in order that you might know why I have undertaken this challenge, please know
that I have loved and will love all my life the most peerless lady in the world. But
such it is that she does not wish to take my heart as a servant, and from this I can
see that she wishes to hasten my death. And since it is so, that she who surpasses
all others in virtue desires my end, I write to challenge you out of my most
sorrowful presumption. For I know well that your virtues are so great that, as for
your feats of arms, I will never prevail, if it were not that my only mistress took pity
on my end. If it is not through her, I can be worth nothing. In her resides my
strength and my force. I am left without heart, without honor, without power. Thus
you can see that you will have hardly any trouble in overcoming me. But our match
will be carried out in this way. When you have surpassed and overcome me, you
will not take anything but my life. For in this way I wish to end my life. And if it
were such that she who has the power to return my heart to joy by her virtue gave
me the strength to put you to defeat, I would not wish to have from you, without
anything else, but a diamond to send to her who will have overcome you. And so
that I might keep this letter unaltered, I have sealed it with the true seal of my arms.

When I had composed my entire letter

And written it within my book,
My heart then began to dream,
Cursing Danger very strongly,
Which leads me to destruction.
Then it came to me in a vision
That Hope then swore to me very strongly
That I would have comfort from my lady
And that I would be claimed as friend
And comforted with her love,
And that she was greatly displeased
With the pain that my heart received.
Thus does Hope keep me alive.
Otherwise I might not live at all.
And while I was in this state
And comforted myself with Hope,
I looked very amicably
At one who was secretly
Hidden within the garden
And who was greatly troubled.
When he saw that I had noticed him,
He said, “Friend, God give you joy!
What reason do you have to be distressed.
So greatly and to protest
The pains that come to you from Love?
What are these cares that are called love?
I never heard speak of them.
These are things to make one mad.
I can see it in your manner,
You who have so piteous an expression.
I thought that no one had sadness,
Sorrow, displeasure, or distress
Except myself, exclusively,
Who partake of these so abundantly
That I am kept too well from laughing.
But if it pleased you to tell me
The reason for your sorrow,
If I could offer any relief,
I would do so with good heart.”
Then I gently thanked him,
Telling him that I ask for no comfort
Other than my death,
For the physician who can heal
The pain from which my heart so suffers
Wants me to languish thus in sorrow.
“But tell me about your case,” I said,
“And the reason for your complaint.
For it seems to me that you suffer many
A harsh distress within your heart.
For if I could out of respect
Comfort you, I would do so,
And within my power, I’d give you
Advice with regard to your cure.
So tell me your story,
Please, I beg you.”
Then he said to me in mockery,
“Alas! How would you help me?
You have so much to do yourself
That you don’t know which way to turn.
How could anyone counsel me
Who doesn’t know how to help himself,
However much he wanted to?”
“Sweet brother,” then I said to him,
“Perhaps I could counsel you
Better than I do myself.
Tell me, please, why
You are so distressed.
And after, if you wish to know
The whole truth about my pain,
I will tell you briefly.”
Then he said, “Since you wish it,
I wish to tell you. Listen!


“At the beginning of my youth,

When I was first starting out,
I was captivated by happiness
And by the pursuit of pleasure.
I had a fair and pleasant lodging
Near to a wood and replete with gardens
Where I went to amuse myself.
My joy turned out very badly for me!

“One day, when I, carefree,
Was in a garden, all by myself,
I looked up towards a little tower
And saw fly by very nobly
A sparrowhawk, which threatened
All the birds in the enclosure,
From which I took great solace.
My joy turned out very badly for me!

“Immediately I set about
To see if I could find a way
To capture it, but sadness
Came upon me quickly,
For I captured it, but badly
Did I keep it, it seems to me.
For which I wept and often said,
‘My joy turned out very badly for me!’

“Before I was able to capture it,
And before it would surrender to me,
Many times I had a great deal of pain.
There was not an hour in the week
That I wasn’t, in evening and morning,
Closed up inside the garden,
And all I did was to study
How I could get to know the sparrowhawk
And attract it to me.
It would indeed come up close to me,
But I wasn’t able to capture it,
Nor did I wish to let it go,
So much did I have a complete desire
To wish to obtain it for my own.
So completely did it please me
That I gave it all my thought,
Without thinking of anything else,
Out of love of its beautiful demeanor.
I took great pains to please it
And kept myself from displeasing it.
I was in this state for a long time,
For never a day did I depart
From near that which I loved so much,
Because I could not capture it.
In so doing I had considerable pain.
Then it happened to me one week,
On a Monday, early in the morning,
The day after Saint Valentine’s Day,
When all the birds want to sing,
Just as I had gone to play
In the garden as at other times,
I saw this courteous sparrowhawk
Come alight upon my hand.
But I call myself unlucky
That otherwise I didn’t keep it.
I was born in an unlucky hour
To have won so great a reward,
Only to lose it like a wretch.
For never did anyone see a bird
So noble, so pleasing, nor so fair,
Nor of so courteous a bearing.
Its nature would please everyone.
For a long time I had great joy from it
In showing it all the humbleness
And gentleness that I could.
I loved it greatly from my heart
And it loved me, it seemed to me.
Thus was the game begun
Most loyally between us two.
It was pleased with all my games.
It cared not to know anyone else.
Nor did anyone else carry it
Except for myself alone.
I kept it for a very long time.
Wherever it flew, it was
So well-bred, so noble, and so gracious
That it always came back to me,
And did not wish to change me for another.
In this state did I spend my youth.
Then it happened one day by mischance
That I was inside the garden
And I saw a peregrine falcon
That performed wonders in flying.
I placed myself beneath the arbor
In order to watch its behavior,
And I took such pleasure in it
That I thought that if I could have it,
That I would be richer than if I had
All the money in the world.
Covetousness, which may God confound,
Made me think about it so much
That I forgot my sparrowhawk.
When I came back to my sparrowhawk,
I perceived all too well
That it had grown a bit cool to me,
But I was so foolishly mad
With wanting to capture the falcon
That I became as dry as a stick.
But one evening, while I was in the garden
In order to see the falcon better,
I saw a male peregrine come,
Which clearly seemed, when it arrived,
A bird of high and noble rank.
When it had come, they made a pair.
They began to celebrate
And to touch their beaks together.
They embraced each other with their wings.
These two birds celebrated
So much that it was a great wonder.
And then they took to their wings
And together they took their way,
I knew not where nor what became of them.
But when I saw that I had lost
The falcon, may God give me joy,
I was so terribly upset
That I cried very tenderly.
But hardly had my grief begun to grow
When I could clearly recognize
That I had suffered a double loss,
And it was my just deserts.
When I came back to where I had left
My sparrowhawk, and thought
To find it there just as before,
I looked about and realized
That it had left its perch,
Which was to me a piteous case.
Thus I recognized my coquetry
And my mortal stupidity,
And that I had, for wanting to change,
Completely lost my sparrowhawk,
And I hadn’t caught the falcon at all.
And therefore I wanted nothing else
Except to die; that is all.
I wish to end pitifully,
While seeking if I might hear
Good news about what I have lost.
For if I could get it back,
I would take care of it more wisely,
Without breaching my loyalty.
My falsehood turned out very badly,
Which makes me languish in this state.
I am forced to suffer because of falsehood.
Oh, cursed be flirtation!
No one can lead such a life
Who doesn’t regret it in the end.
I am dead of hunger for joy
And formerly I was so well filled.
Oh, Loyalty, I beseech you,
Do not put me to death for this,
However much I was in the wrong
Towards you, and so badly erred
That I could never make up for it,
If it were not that, out of your humbleness,
You had pity on my sadness.
And I would swear to you loyally
That never would I do wrong
To you any day of my life.
Thus I tell of my malady
And of my pain. I don’t know if you’re pleased
Or if my speech displeases you.
With this I will finish my story.
You have heard the cause
And the reason for my complaint
Which I make without any feigning.
Now tell me yours as well.
And then our exchange will be complete.”


Then I said to him, “Fair friend,
Well have I heard your cry,
And I am very greatly dismayed
That you experience such sorrow.
It seems to me to be a folly
To carry on so for a bird,
To the point of losing strength and vigor,
Sighing in both evening and morning.

“We know well that in amusement
One cannot win any honor.
Who has led you to this state,
To have for birds so great a love
And to be for them in such a fever
That you be completely subject to them,
So much that you lose both strength and vigor,
Sighing in both evening and morning?

“This state of mind in which you are placed
Has lingered with you much too long,
So does it seem to me.
I would say that it’s for the best
That you take a different turn.
That’s my advice, my fair sweet cousin,
Since you lose both strength and vigor,
Sighing in both evening and morning.

“And if you’d like to know my plaints
And the pains of which I complain,
Know that it is for a lady
Who, by my soul, in beauty is
Alone without equal, the peerless one.
She is the star distinct and different
That surpasses all others in brightness.
She is the one who outshines them all
In all the goods that God and Nature
Could place in any creature.
She is the one with whom all must be pleased.
If God still had it to do,
He could never make another such.
She is gracious, joyful, and fair.
So charming is her look
And so appealing her sweet speech
That her demeanor pleases all.
She is the goddess of pleasantness,
She is the treasure of courtesy,
She is the god of joyous life,
She is the very princess of honor,
She’s an Alexander of generosity.
She is all the virtues that one could name.
I wouldn’t know how to describe so many
That she not have a great deal more.
But there are so many that her rebuff
Makes me languish piteously,
When she doesn’t wish to consider me her own,
Her humble and loyal servant.
That is the reason for my grief.
That is why I have such distress,
However much Hope promises me
That I will be loved by her
And comforted for my pain.
And Hope does promise me in truth
That very soon I will perceive
The good will that she has for me.
And it has sworn to me by its faith
That not long ago she said
That she could not love me better,
And that there is no woman in the world
Who can love an earthly man more,
By her soul, than she loves me.
And it also says, I don’t know why,
That she wouldn’t like at all to tell me
Of the love by which she is assailed.
Hope wants me to be in that condition,
But Desire, which rules my heart,
Makes me desire her love so much
That often I am forced to sigh
And say ‘alas’ both morning and night.


“Languishing, I await your will
Within these woods, quite secretly.
No one is here to provide me pleasure.
I am all alone except for Hope,

“Which often lets my heart know
That it is loved. Truly nonetheless,
Languishing, I await your will
Within these woods, quite secretly.

“If it were true that I could see
That you loved me more than anyone else,
I would have Joy at my command
And I would sing, driving out Despair,

“Languishing, I await your will
Within these woods, quite secretly.
No one is here to provide me pleasure.
I am all alone except for Hope.

“What do you want me to say to you?
Brother, all my malady
Comes from her alone.
She can pass judgment on me:
She is both judge and one of the parties.
What do you say? Should I not
Complain and be sorrowful?
If I were so unlucky
That Hope departed from me,
I would want to die without delay.
Thus does Hope sustain me.
Otherwise I would have to meet my end.
And if God wants me to have
Her love, I will never be as foolish
As you were with your sparrowhawk,
Who left it in order to choose another.
Never would I want to change.
I would serve her as best I could
With all my heart so loyally
Without ever having a single thought
For anyone else except for her.
You have heard my case.
Don’t I have better cause to complain
And to love well, without relenting,
Than you do, who love so greatly
A bird that flies away?
Please tell me what you think about this,
Fair brother and fair sweet friend.”
“Brother, I can defend myself no more.
I have to give up in my dispute.
I have laid out in poetry
And likewise in rhyme
The sorrow that my heart was feeling,
Pretending that it was for fun.
My heart is at the point of destruction.
But I want to tell you the cause
For which this distress has come upon me
For which I wish myself dead.
The sparrowhawk of which I spoke,
In which I took all my pleasure,
Was in fact a young woman,
Gracious of body, extremely fair,
That I had loved in my youth,
And I suffered much distress
Before I was loved by her
And relieved of my pain.
Nonetheless, it turned out so well for me
That finally she took me as her own.
And I lost her because of flirtation,
For which I often curse my life.
But to bring our debate to an end,
I consider myself checkmated,
And I say that there’s no lady in the world,
No maiden, or any other woman,
That one could compare in any way
To her whom I heard you praise.
All women ought to pay her homage
And put themselves in her service.
And thus you will tell me, fair brother,
Of the sorrow that is bitter for you.
Without varying in loyalty,
Think that you will be relieved,
For there is enough good in you
To keep company with hers.”
He said no more, it seems to me,
And he left me completely dismayed,
Just as lonely as before,
And he went away, I don’t know how.
Hardly had I been left alone
When it seemed to me that my Body felt
A very great grief, and that it complained
About my Heart, which had abandoned it.
My Heart said that the Body was wrong
To feel such great distress,
And each, in the form of a lament,
Made a complaint about the other,
And if it wouldn’t bore you,
You will be able to see it here.


Not long ago, in the style of a lament,
My Body spoke sharply to my Heart,
Saying, “I suffer many a grief.
I go, I come, I have no rest.
You have conceived so high an idea
And undertaken so high a task
That I will be forced to end piteously.
It was bad luck for me you got such an idea.

“I knew a time when I used to be strong
And now I cannot hold myself up.
I spend my days in sorrow without relief,
And it is all due to you, who wanted to depart
From inside of me and leap out through my eyes.
This will be a hard escape for me.
I will be dead; then you will have to seek
Another body if you want to stay alive.

“I know too well it’s not within my power
To endure such sorrow for a long time.
I have easily a hundred eyes within my mind
That day and night do nothing but look,
And do not let me rest, however little.
There are always three or four that stay awake
To look at the great beauty without peer
Of my lady, and at her pleasing features.”

Then my Heart replied, “I am surprised
That you do not take pleasure from your pain,
When you know well that she is without equal
In honor, in any virtue that one could choose.
If through your eyes I wished to take my leave,
In hoping to obtain her grace
By loving strongly, by serving loyally
Her great beauty, which surpasses every other,

“Shouldn’t you put up with your distress
For the great rewards that can come to you?
If you will be able to know the happiness
That by your eyes will come to you one day
And the pleasure that they will make you have,
You ought to take great joy in their looking.
For, as for them, they will never tire
Of looking at the summit of all good.

“You go about saying that you have within you
More than a hundred eyes. I made them come there
To take up lodging on the first of May.
Do you know why? So that you might wish
To hold onto and always keep in mind
The great good that I had seen that morning.
That is the good that I want to obtain,
For which I have undertaken to be a pilgrim.”

“Oh fair sweet Heart, please comfort me.
I can no longer find comfort on my own.
Come put yourself back inside of me.
Abandon this act on which we’re in discord.
By God, I think that you are very wrong
For it seems to me that she cannot love,
And she doesn’t care if you receive your death.
She is content to make you go mad.

“Many a time have you entreated her
That it please her to give you happiness.
But I perceive that it just gets worse for me.
My hardship just increases more and more.
Inasmuch as she is without peer in France.
She ought to be more pitiful of my pains,
I, who serve her with all my power
As my lady and as my princess of love.

“I know too well that if you believe Hope,
The next day it will deceive you
And it will make you linger in desire.
But I fear greatly it will give you nothing.
That’s its business; I have known it long.
Many people are fooled by its manner.
Now do anything you please about it,
To refuse or carry out my prayer.”

“Body, say no more; it is my wish
To serve her while maintaining loyalty.
Nor will I ever come back within you
Until the time that I bring with me
The noble heart of my beautiful princess.
In this hope, forget the distress
That you are having, for if I could obtain
The gift of 'lover,' I would make you richer
Than you have been at any time in your life.
You have never had as much melancholy,
Affliction, grief, or sorrowful laments,
As you will receive of joy between your hands
If my mistress wished to love me well.
You have no body in which you could lodge
The great happiness that would come to you from me
If she wished to retain me as her servant.
If God wished that it might please her such
That her two eyes wanted to draw me
Within her heart, then I’d come back to you,
And afterwards, do you know what I would do?
We two together would swear homage to her,
To always hold ourselves in her service.
And if she accepted our pledge of faith
And by her will wanted to permit us
To consider ourselves as hers for all our life,
Never would we have pain or malady.
And day and night we would be filled with joy.
Whatever might happen to you or me.
In this wish I will make my destiny,
And I will never see my thought change.
Endure, Body, I beg you, please, the great reward
That will come to me: that I be hers.”
Then the Body answered, “Fair sweet friend,
There is so much good where you are placed
That I would never wish to draw you back.
But in the hope that I might have joy,
Very melancholy, I wish to sing.


“My heart has leapt out through my eyes,
For which my body has no consolation.
Nor do I wish to draw it back.
I don’t know where to lodge it better.

“It is lodged, so help me God,
In the true treasury of all joy.
My heart has leapt out through me eyes,
For which my body has no consolation.

“However sorrowful I am,
Yet I have hope that I might come,
More and more than I was accustomed,
To the supreme reward of lovers.

“My heart has leapt out through my eyes,
For which my body has no consolation.
Nor do I wish to draw it back.
I don’t know where to lodge it better.

“Heart, do what you will.
Maintain yourself in loyalty.
Torment me as much as you want.
I am weak and badly injured,
But nonetheless I will endure
The very best that I am able
The thing that you have undertaken.
Your intention is well placed.
Hold to it is my advice,
For she’s the god without peer
Of all the ladies who are now,
Who were, or who will ever be
In all the places that one could name,
And none could ever name as many
As there are, upon God and my soul.
She is the most peerless lady
Who is and who will ever be.
And therefore, let him live who can,
I am ready to endure all
And by suffering to console myself
As did Palamedes.


“I have made my treasury of wishes,
And I have equipped myself with Hope
In order to resist against Sorrow
And against its harsh attacks.

“Distress does not leave me in peace,
But I wish to wage war upon it.
I have made my treasury of wishes,
And I have equipped myself with Hope.

“And therefore from now on I want
To dress in white instead of black,
For the hope I have of obtaining
Some relief from my complaints.

“I have made my treasury of wishes,
And I have equipped myself with Hope
In order to resist against Sorrow
And against its harsh attacks.”

The Heart thanked the Body
That it was its pleasure
To be a true martyr for love.
Despite the harsh turns
That love made it suffer,
Yet it didn’t wish to budge.
“Thus are we both in accord
Always to be just as desirous
Of cherishing, serving, and fearing her.
Neither of us wants to be slow
To carry out her charming wish,
Beseeching her that it please her
Willingly to accept our piteous deeds
And to reduce our grievous sorrows,
And in singing, to ask of her:


“Place us in the true memory
Of the depth of your thought.
Oh princess that we desire,
Make us come before you.

“For all we do is languish
Day and night, eve and morn.
Place us in the true memory
Of the depth of your thought.

“Accompanied by Burning Desire
We endure our destiny.
Offering, oh dearly beloved,
This song, in order to ask:

“Place us in the true memory
Of the depth of your thought.
Oh princess that we desire,
Make us come before you.”

When our debate was ended
And recorded in this book,
It happened that I awoke,
And then I looked around me
And I saw that I was all alone,
And I thought that I would conduct
My grief in private,
So I said piteously, “Alas,
Love, Love, you have made me suffer
So much that upon awakening,
I must make a complaint about you.
My sleep is nothing but a torment.
When one thinks that I am resting
Because one sees my eyes are closed,
That is when my suffering increases
Such that I never saw the like.
The eye of my body has no rest
For it is enclosed in Desire,
Which constantly makes it see its death,
And yet it agrees to have it.
And therefore no one should reproach me,
For Reason wishes to end my pain,
But you, Love, don’t want to allow it,
So much does my pleasing folly please me.
I call it a pleasing folly
However unpleasant it may be.
In drawing me in, it throws me down
And it slays me with its full rebuff.
Love, evil was your manner
To make such a lady a murderess,
And yet she can do nothing for my pain.
I resemble Palamedes,
Who wished, without anything in return,
To love for all his life.
My will is to do the same.
Not a single day do I wish to withdraw.
(Thus one says some sort of noise
Piteously in the end.)
For such a deed he was put to death,
And he was in agreement with it.
Alas! And so much would I like my death,
I would not wish for anything else
Except only to die.
Oh Death, why do you not end
My life, which is too distressful
And too greatly sorrowful?
Everything bothers me, whatever I see.
Instead of pleasure I have aggravation
Oh Love, and you, my mistress,
Have I deserved such distress
For having served you loyally?
I have always wanted to carry out
All of your good commands.
Oh Love, it was not long ago
I had the greatest unhappiness
That ever could befall me,
For while sleeping, it seemed to me
That my heart, which formerly I said
Belonged to my mistress totally,
Was lost, I don’t know how.
And it seemed to me that I saw it
Suffering, and then I asked
Of those who inflicted this pain
That, for the Sovereign Virgin,
They might please be so kind
As to return to me this grieving heart,
And that it had had suffering enough.
It was given to me without refusal.
When I got it, I very sorrowfully
Made a present of a piece of it
To my lady, my only beloved,
And I think that it made her angry.
I was displeased by her anger,
And my sorrow grew much worse
If I had done, thought, or said
Anything for which she was annoyed.
Be it right or wrong, I wish to please her
And keep myself from displeasing her.
And I also know in truth
That there is so much loyalty in her
That one could never speak ill of it
If one didn’t want to lie about her.
And for anything that I have in mind
For which she had become angry,
Humbly I beg mercy for it.
And I pray to Love that, for this,
It not put me beyond the grace
Of the one among all who surpasses
The ladies who were and are
And who will ever be afterwards,
Notwithstanding that her good will
I never had, nor do I have hope,
From what I can see in her,
That I can ever bring to an end
My suit in the way that I desire.
But it should satisfy me, without more,
To keep from displeasing her,
And if for her I suffer discomfort,
Nonetheless I will not leave off
From serving her for my whole life.
Love, I understand well
That I am not worthy to have hope
That she declare me her lover.
My virtues are insignificanth
Compared to her great worth,
To her beauty, and to her gentleness.
And therefore, Love, I beg you
Only that out of courtesy
You preserve me from her displeasure
If I cannot have her good will,
And give me the power to perform
Each day something that can please her.
Love, I am very willingly
One of your poor foot-soldiers,
Who have neither salary nor equipment,
And I am satisfied
Only that you recognize my service,
I, who serve you without office.
I have served you without orders,
Without having comfort or hope.
Still do I have no reward.
I do not know if I would have wasted
My pain for serving you well.
I say it not at all with regret,
Nor ever will you hear me say it.
Despite my piteous suffering,
I am content with my pain.
I am totally at the command
Of her who causes me to have
The pain of which I must lament.
I want everything that she would like
And to do whatever will please her.
Whether to live in grief or in happiness.
Her alone do I wish to consider my mistress.
I am her serf without liberty,
Nor do I want to choose another.
She is my most sweet enemy,
And of my heart the cruel friend.
She has me totally. I have nothing that is mine.
And yet she does not wish to consider me her own.
But I will be hers, whether she wish it or not,
Nor will I cease for anything that she wishes of me.
It is a indivisible love
Which will last for all my life.
And for her love, however it is,
I want here to make one wish:
May it please God that in a vision
I might know how she feels.
I fear that she hates me
Because I have offended her.”
And as much for the torment that I had
As for the desire, that I wished
In sleeping to have a dream,
I fell asleep, and with no effort,
And while I was sleeping, I saw,
Galloping through a willow grove,
Danger. Then I began to sigh
And to think about the pain I felt
And the sorrow that it made me feel
So greatly for loving and serving loyally
The most peerless one beneath the heavens
In honor, in virtue, in gracious look.
One would not be able to find her equal.
So says my heart, which wants to honor her,
Serve her, fear her, more than any other, so help me God.

Therefore in hope I want to remain joyous,
While awaiting that I have relief
From my mistress with the beautiful laughing eyes,
For her sweetness does not wish my death.
Comfort tells me and comes to advise me
That I serve her all my life without betrayal.
I will believe it; I don’t want at all to be neglectful
In serving her, as long as I shall endure,
In heart, in body, in will, in thought,
For whatever pain that I might endure,

While awaiting that, by means of her sweet speech,
My grievous sorrows turn to happiness,
And that my heart might there remain
And be free from pain and from sadness.
For I have been so long in distress
That I have forgotten joy and amusement.
I used to dance and sing in my time,
And now I must go about in anger.
But I have hope of bringing back that time,
Despite the jealous and the lying slanderers

Who have been harming me as best they can.
But despite them, I will serve the fair one
Whom I have loved and honored for a long time.
And in no way can I ever hear or have
Good tidings if they do not come from her.
In her resides my death or my life.
Lady rich in honor, adorned with loyalty,
Have pity on my harsh sorrows
And on the torment with laments and tears
That I have for you. And yet I do not complain,

For I know well that in an hour and a half,
You can turn my pain into sweetness,
My princess.  Therefore please don’t wish
That all my time be spent in such languor,
But relieve me and remove the sorrow
That I feel in my heart, for I can bear no more without dying.
Fair gentle one, in whom lies all my comfort,
Console this poor destitute one
Who is always within his power attentive
To serve you, whether for right or wrong.

My only lady in whom lies all my comfort,
If you please, listen to the plaint
Of myself, who has no amusement,
And distress has extinguished my sweetness.
All other pains have so afflicted my head,
I can live no longer if I don’t have relief.
My joyous good and my only pleasure,
Do with me anything you wish,
For if I die, I can say truly
That I suffer death for the best woman in France.

My only love, to whom I am committed,
Do with me according to your pleasure.
In order to love you, I languish, in truth,
And I will languish, until I am granted
Your love and until you give me the grace
Of removing from me, as an ill-fated one,
Pain and care, and until I expel them
Along with the unhappiness that long pursues me
And has sought to remove me from all joy;
And indeed it has so enflamed me
That I no longer have a good day or good night.
Danger draws near me, and Danger so injures me
That I don’t have time to tell of my complaint.

I must come to an end. I can find no release.
I say farewell to the good company
And to you, my lady, the best of the good.
I take my leave of your happy face.
Praying, weeping, leading a piteous life,
I must depart from the great rewards of love.
Thus I beseech you, gracious companions,
Prigent, Regnault, and Jamect together,
Serve your mistresses attentively.
Whatever anyone says, you will only be better for it.

And just as I was lamenting in this way,
I heard a voice coming from above me
That said to me, “Friend, don’t be discouraged.
The God of Love will be courteous to you,
And he sends me here to remove the sweet burden
That you have upon you, and the melancholy.
Get up at once and lead a happy life!
Take comfort, and take pains to recover!
You ought more than ever to rejoice,
For you will have the seignory of honor.”

When I heard it, I swooned,
Yet then I began to raise up my head
To see if I could see the voice I’d heard,
For willingly would I have wished to speak
At greater length and converse with it
In order to ask what would be my end.
I didn’t see it, but when the morning came,
I was greatly relieved of my pain.
Piteously I gave thanks to Love.
This happened to me on Saint Valentine’s Day.


Young, noble, beautiful, a sweet manner,
A laughing look, fair welcome, sweet speech,
I come to you, making piteous cheer,
To take my leave and to recommend myself
To your gentleness, which can comfort me.
Do with me anything you please,
For never will my wish ever change.
For my will is completely determined to do this:
To serve you always in loyalty.
Wherever I go, my heart will stay with you.

Alas, why are you so haughty towards me
That it doesn’t please you to listen to me speak?
And why is your humbleness so dear
That I am forced to buy so painfully
A gentle look, when I can even obtain it?
And I do not know when it will be your will
To grant me that which I have long requested
For the pains or hurt that I have already endured.
For by my faith, my good and my treasure,
Wherever I go, my heart will stay with you.

My plaints, my tears, are completely brushed aside.
Very little does it matter to you to see me tormented
Or to comfort my piteous prayer
And the sorrow that I am made to endure,
Fair gentle one, for wanting to love you.
I know very well that soon I will be forced
To die of sorrow. Never did anyone endure
So great a pain, to tell the truth,
But may it all go according to your will.
Wherever I go, my heart will stay with you.

My princess, my entire will
Is and will be to fear you and dread you,
And if I do not dare to speak to you often,
This troubles me, but when it pleases you,
You will make my sorrow turn into comfort.
Thus you can be fully certain of me:
Wherever I go, my heart will stay with you.


Farewell, noble one, young and joyous,
Farewell, sweet gracious look,
Farewell, my very beautiful mistress.
I take my leave in great distress
And melancholy, I depart.

I leave behind all happiness,
And thus I go completely destitute,
Thinking of the grievous pain that afflicts me.
Farewell, noble one, young and joyous,
Farewell, sweet gracious look,
Farewell, my very beautiful mistress.

If Humble Will does not have pity on me
In order to relieve my sorrowful pain,
I am banished from happiness
Without ever finding the way or means
To return either to laughter or to play.

Farewell, noble one, young and joyous,
Farewell, sweet gracious look,
Farewell, my very beautiful mistress.
I take my leave in great distress
And melancholy, I depart.


My heart can no longer bear distress
Or unhappiness, or the torment of desire.
Although I already recognize well
That the god in whom I believe is without pity.
But I hope to provide a reason why
My intercessor will have pity on me.
At the very least he will not blame me
If I am not unhappy for no reason.

No longer can I refrain from saying
That my god is the goddess of the other gods,
Made by fairies and come from an enchanted land,
Full of virtues, of honor and of largesse.
She ought well be the mistress of all.
Her wish alone can enrich everyone.
By itself, it can be enough to serve her
For the great virtues and beauties that reside in her.
One ought well to call her, and without lying,
Lady of ladies, the most beautiful of the good.

So help me God, I firmly believe,
If God had lost Our Lady,
That if he would then come down, I know not how,
He would not choose for himself any other woman
But my mistress, who is to me both god and lady.
But do you think that I would let her go
If I by force were able to prevent it?
And furthermore, she has so many attendants
That one god alone couldn’t lead her off
Unless he had with him some magicians.

Many people have gone out of their minds
From study and have lost all that they knew.
But I have undertaken too great a folly
In loving her who has no wish to love.
I lose my wits, my strength, and my power.
Wickedly did Love have such power over me
As to subject me to the one without peer in France.
I will remain her subject, without ever gaining freedom.
Although to my heart this is something of great worth,
Yet I am forced to suffer many a sorrow.

There is still this of which I marvel more:
It is that Love has no power over her.
She wishes to remain alone without choosing an equal.
Never did anyone hear of such a woman.
Who will be able to aid me in my cause?
Who will be able to reduce my grief?
Who will be able to tell her what I want?
For she is very disdainful of listening.
When I want to tell of the pain that I receive,
Fear tells me that she has no pity at all.

I must desist from telling her my complaints,
For I cannot find an opportunity for speaking.
And furthermore, so greatly do I fear her,
For if I had the time, leisure, and space,
I would not dare. Now watch what I do.
Am I in a good state? Judge, so help you God.
Do the envious have their vengeance upon me?
It seems to me that it ought to suffice them.
I love my death. Would they ask for more?
And my doctor does not know what pain I bear.

I wish no longer to complain of my sorrow.
I want to endure, whether for right or wrong,
And to love well forever more, without slacking,
The one who is consenting to my death.
My heart wishes it, and I fully agree.
Thus I pray to God that he keep me from doing
Or saying anything that might displease her.
And if it is such that I cannot have
Her good will, about which I cannot be silent,
May God keep me from being in her ill will.


Sweet harshness, my very deadly friend,
My good, my ill, my mistress, my joy,
My all, my very sweet enemy,
My ballad humbly I send to you
To pray you that it please you that I be
Consoled of my sorrow by you.
For so help me God, my good and my treasure,
No woman but you has the power over me
To heal me, for I am stricken.
And for that reason I remain dressed in black.

The more I think about the benefits of your lordship,
About the beauty of which you are the peak,
About the charming play with which you are adorned,
My pain pleases me, nor would I wish to recover
If not through you, whatever should happen to me.
I never wish to change my desire.
My heart wishes it and I have agreed,
Although you have completely banished me from hope
By a rejection near enough to the ditch or moat.
And for that reason I remain dressed in black.

Alas, my lady, have I deserved death
For loving you until I could no more?
Will your pity be denied to me?
Have I done anything I shouldn’t do?
Death or mercy, I would not wish for more.
I surrender to you; accept me willingly.
Make me rich in that of which I am poor:
It is the happiness that I can have through you.
I am in grief, almost in despair,
And for that reason I remain dressed in black.

Another Ballade

Alas, in grief I am dressed in black.
Your gentleness can very well dress me instead
In happiness and can chase despair
Out of my heart in order to make me joyful.
You can banish me from pleasure
Or comfort my sorrowful torment.
I am your subject, but it is so loyally
That I cannot take pleasure in anything
Except to love you, my lady, exclusively.

It has been a long time since I set my mind
On loving you and serving you loyally.
Guion let you know this long ago,
But if I had the power or the leisure
Or the courage to describe my state,
I would wish to tell you more of my thought
Than another said. But think assuredly
That never will I have any other desire
Except to love you, my lady, exclusively.

Alas, my mistress, if I had the power
That I could parcel out the heaven and earth,
If it pleased you to accept all willingly,
All would be yours undividedly.
Have pity on me, who is a sufferer,
My only love, my god, my salvation.
Do not let me end piteously.
For I have hope of winning no other reward
Except to love you, my lady, exclusively.

Another Ballade

Alas, my lady, for whom I am forced to moan
On many occasions and often to sigh,
Have pity on your true sufferer,
Who humbly wishes to end his days
In serving you, without ever loving another,
Although you say that your gentle heart
Could never belong to me; therefore I must bear:
“In this house he finds not a drop of pity.”

All my thoughts and all my memory
Are thus on you, my goddess without equal.
All my comfort can come to me from you.
No one else but you can console me.
My healing can be found in you.
But you have told me, although you are not right,
That I can well bear as a motto:
“In this house he finds not a drop of pity.”

You have the power to make me end
Piteously and to shorten my days,
And on the other hand, from you I can receive
The healing that I ought to desire.
You can banish me or call me back.
I will be humble to you however it is,
Despite what I am forced to bear:
“In this house he finds not a drop of pity.”


Not long ago, my heart made to you
A request, rather piteously,
For humbly it beseeched you very strongly
That you allow at least only
That it might serve you until the end.
But your will did not wish to consent
That I have hope of having any relief,
And in that state, I was forced to leave.

And by God, fair one, if your will were
To have pity on my very sweet torment,
At that time my sorrow would come to an end.
Then I would act much more joyously
Than I do now, for all of my thought
Would be in happiness to serve you.
But from you I have no consolation,
And in that state, I was forced to leave.

But nonetheless, whether wrong or right,
I wish to remain under your judgment.
My heart is yours and will be, wherever it is,
Although you have brought about our separation.
By God, my lady, in no way do I wish
To have as mistress anyone but you.
Yet you have told me that I act foolishly,
And in that state, I was forced to leave.


To you, beautiful, very gentle lady,
To whom I have given body and soul,
Heart and all that I can possess,
I make my prayer, and I call upon you
As she by whom I am inflamed
With the desire of a loving will.
May it please you to consider my state,
For I am deprived of all good,
Nor do I have hope of any benefit.
Comfort does not wish to receive me.
I am dressed in sadness.

Alas! I set my thought
On loving you very loyally,
And I have no other thought.
Most often I speak to people
And yet do not know what or how,
Except that I do so distractedly.
My love is fixed upon you.
I see you always, it seems to me.
Alas! Will the day ever come,
My greatly desired princess,
That I might be able to see us together?

It seems to me, so help me God,
That I have always before my eyes
Your beauty without equal,
With which everyone is in love,
The young and the old as well.
When I am stricken thus
And the heart which allows me to suffer it
Has no wish to love any other,
So much has your goodness conquered me
That I am fully overcome by it,
Without ever forsaking it a single day.

One can cry aloud into my ear,
But nothing can awaken me
Except your great renown.
In waking or when I am asleep,
I am in constant wonderment
Of the virtues for which you are praised,
My very formidable mistress,
Such is your body and your mind.
Do not allow that my destiny
Be ended in sadness because of you.
From another I cannot have relief.

Alas! How could you know
The sorrow and the despair
In which I am for loving you?
I do not have the power to say,
And I realize that you don’t have the wish
To hear me or to listen to me.
From where can such harshness come to you?
How can Love allow it?
It would be better for me to be at sea
And to leave behind the entire world
When I suffer such unhappiness.

But whence does this malady come to me?
For it is necessary that I say it:
It is for her whom I chose,
The most perfected in all virtues
Who is and ever was in life,
So help me God that it is so.
And since Love has commanded me
To seek her for my own good,
So will I be unconditionally,
Awaiting her sweet mercy
Of which many are covetous.

Alas! Would it really be misfortune
For me to choose the one without peer in France
And of whom one says more of good?
My pain should be to me a pleasure,
And it ought to be enough for me
To be so exclusively completely hers.
For just a single thing from her is worth more
Than whatever one could name from another.
And therefore I don’t fear death at all,
But I surrender to it that which was mine,
Because I can not find a physician.

Alas! Many people have been killed
By violence, which is a pity,
Or by the ravages of death.
And I, who have no excess of well-being
But who languish in servitude,
Cannot die for right or wrong.
I live in grief without consolation.
I am near to despair
If Pity isn’t favorable to me.
But I think that Pity is asleep,
For which I am completely discouraged.


My princess, until I see again
Your beautiful sweet eyes, your gentle manner,
Piteously in sorrow will I languish,
Nor will I have complete happiness ever again.
My eyes will be completely without light.
Your departure causes me a mortal torment,
Nor do I have any comfort except to look
By night at the moon and by day at the sun.

And so help me God, I will serve you,
If necessary, with no proud thought,
And carry out your will in every way.
Be to me either piteous or a murderer.
My will is entirely with you,
And I will not have in sleeping such a rest
That I do not wish sometime to look
By night at the moon and by day at the sun.

Do you know why I will look at them,
My love, you who are the tomb of my poor heart?
Because it seems to me that I will see you better.
You can see it; therefore I pray to you
That my look shoot by means of an archer
Into your heart, which has absolutely no equal.
Then will you know why I wish to look
By night at the moon and by day at the sun.


It wasn’t long ago that I thought
To be beyond the power of Love,
And I used to make fun of lovers
When I saw them playing their games.
But now I am all upside down,
For I have undertaken the folly
Of this nasty love business,
For which I am forced, to tell the truth,
Often to speak as if in a daze.
It is a terrible pain to succumb again.

I am much worse off than I used to be.
I have the opposite of what I wish for.
I have worse than I could say,
Torture, unhappiness, and sorrows,
Without hope of finding help
From my deadly friend,
For she is bereft of mercy.
But her sweetness gives me hope
Of healing from my malady.
It is a terrible pain to succumb again.

The beauty and my only joy
Will make me end my days.
When she happens, wherever I am,
To be ready to hear my tears,
In her I don’t find any help
To free me of my madness.
She doesn’t want to hear anything I say.
Alas, how will she know
My thought and my imaginings?
It is a terrible pain to succumb again.

But more does it please me, by my oath,
To have a sorrowful torment
And to suffer many a distress
For loving her strongly and loyally
And only just to see her,
My god and my only princess,
Than to have from another
All the happiness that I could wish.
My heart fully makes her a promise
That it will not take another as a mistress
For any pain that I must endure.

For I recognize very well
That there is absolutely no equal in France
In any virtue that one could name.
Her beauty and her manner
Make me experience pain in pleasure.
If everybody knew her well,
Everyone would want to belong
To her, so help me God.
Loyalty to her would never be lacking,
Nor would she ever be had by the false,
For she is the god of other gods.

And since she has so much beauty,
Honor, and graciousness
That in virtues she is without peer,
Should I not be comforted
If I suffer pain and harshness
And if I have a flea in my ear?
If for love I lie awake
When I am supposed to be sleeping,
I do not care, for it is for her
Who is the most beautiful in the world,
And for that reason I ought to rejoice.

By God, Love, I would not wish,
Nor for anything would I restrain myself,
That I was not in love with her
For anything that might happen to me.
I will not cease, wherever I am,
To serve her better and better.
And if it would be pleasing to her sweet eyes
To show that she was happy with me,
I would be more desirous
To carry out her will in every place
And there I would set all my effort.

And may it please God that she know well
How my heart is entirely hers
Despite the jealous who are full of envy.
I belong to her above all women.
I do not think about anything
Except about her great lordship
And about the virtues with which she is adorned,
Hoping that a time will come –
And I will not quit out of jealousy –
That she is my lady and my friend.
But I do not know when this will be.

Would Love indeed be so opposed
To me and of so cruel a nature
As to have pursued my death?
Love caused me, to please himself,
From all other women to withdraw
In order to serve her until death,
And I am in agreement to do so.
Now may God bring to me such tidings
That I can take some comfort,
For I will be hers, whether right or wrong,
When she is the most beautiful of good women.

Love, if I could stay awake
Until waking I could catch sight
Of a star that was about to fall,
At once you would see me kneel down
And pray to the gods
That they please watch over me.
For my lady told me, in truth,
That what one asks for then,
The petitioner ought to have it.
And I hope to learn the truth of this,
Because I never did find out.


Fair one, without peer among good women,
Why entered so strongly into my ear
The goodness of your reputation?
Alas, how my sight was disturbed
When I saw the wondrousness of you!

For in waking my heart is asleep,
And while sleeping it awakens me,
Thinking on my foolish thought.
Fair one, without peer among good women,
Why entered so strongly into my ear
The goodness of your reputation?

You who are alone without equal among other women
Have long known that I am ready
To serve you, fully praised lady.
May death or mercy be given to me.
Don’t allow me to be tortured any further.

Fair one, without peer among good women,
Why entered so strongly into my ear
The goodness of your reputation?
Alas, how my sight was disturbed
When I saw the wondrousness of you!


So greatly pleased me the treasure of great virtues
That you possess, so truly help me God,
That without cease, I have desired
To be fully yours, and yours I hold myself to be.

The heart, the body that formerly were mine
Both wish that you be my greater good,
So greatly pleased me the treasure of great virtues
That you possess, so truly help me God.

Alas, I am nothing and you give me nothing
That might console the pain of my desire.
And yet I bear my very sorrowful pain
Very sweetly, for through you I endure it.

So greatly pleased me the treasure of great virtues
That you possess, so truly help me God,
That without cease, I have desired
To be fully yours, and yours I hold myself to be.


She who is beautiful, sweet, and charming,
Fully good, without equal among others,
Your renown has fully filled my ear.
My eyes see only you, whom I love so.

Desire comes to afflict me night and day
And says to me, “Love, for so I advise you,
Her who is beautiful, sweet, and charming,
Fully good, without equal among others.”

Since Love, to whom I am obedient,
Wishes me to be fully ready to love,
I will love so much that it will be a wonder,
And I will serve, to the increase of her honor,

Her who is beautiful, sweet, and charming,
Fully good, without equal among others.
Your renown has fully filled my ear.
My eyes see only you, whom I love so.
(see note); (t-note)

(see note); (see note)

(see note)
(see note)

(see note)




(see note)





(see note)





(see note)


(see note); (t-note)


(see note)

(see note)






(see note)





(see note)



(see note)




(see note)

(see note)

(see note)




(see note)


(see note)


(see note)

(see note)




(see note)

(see note)



(see note)


(see note)







(see note)




(see note)







(see note)




(see note)





(see note)


(t-note); (t-note)

(see note)

(see note)

(see note)



(see note)


(see note)



(see note)

(see note); (t-note)



(see note)



(see note); (t-note)


(see note)






(see note)


(see note)

(see note)



(see note)









(see note)




(see note)


(see note)

(see note)

(see note); (t-note)







(see note)

(see note)








(see note)




(see note)

(see note)

(see note)

(see note)

(see note)

(see note)

(see note)
(see note); (t-note)


(see note)



(see note)

(see note)


(see note)


(see note)


(see note)

(see note)


(see note)

(see note)





(see note)









(see note)

(see note)

(see note); (t-note)


(see note)





(see note)







(see note)



(see note); (t-note)


Go to Concordance to Grenier-Winther's edition