77. Le Songe Saint Valentin


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

The title refers to the fact that the dream that the narrator relates takes place on the feast of Saint Valentine (line 22); by implication, though Granson never states so directly, this is also the day on which the birds meet to choose their mates (see lines 86–90). The assembly of the birds draws this poem very close to the final episode of Chaucer’s PF, and Granson’s poem has received greatest attention from those exploring its relation to Chaucer’s. As with regard to 76, Braddy, pp. 64–66, assumes Granson’s priority, while Wimsatt (FC, pp. 220–27) argues for Chaucer’s, in part because of the debt he perceives to other works by Chaucer of even later date, including BD, TC, and “probably” The House of Fame. Wimsatt also notes (pp. 236–37) that this is the only of Granson’s Valentine poems that refers to the mating of the birds (but see the note to 78.1247 below). He dates both this poem and 78 Le Livre Messire Ode
, in which he also finds evidence of dependence on Chaucer’s TC, to the period 1386–92. He also notes a general similarity to Machaut’s DLA (pp. 227, 334n25). On Chaucer and Granson see also the Introduction, p. 29–34. Windeatt (Chaucer’s Dream Poetry, pp. 120–32) offers a prose translation of Granson’s poem, which simply skips, however, the more puzzling passages.

1–6 The initial letters of these lines spell out ISABEL. Compare 71 and 74, and on the designee, see the Introduction, pp. 34–36.

1–28 Wimsatt (FC, pp. 224–25) compares this passage to the opening of both Chaucer’s BD and Froissart’s PA.

23–26 Celle nuit . . . toutez passees. Braddy, p. 65, notes the similarity to Chaucer’s PF, lines 85–89. Wimsatt (FC, pp. 225–26) sees an inconsistency between these lines and the opening passage on the comforts of reflection, and also, if they imply the pains of an unrequited love, with the narrator’s denial of any knowledge of love in lines 390–406.

29–33 Et me . . . aler cherchier. Wimsatt (FC, p. 334n25) draws attention to the parallel between line 29 and RR, line 26; and between lines 30–33 and the Middle English Pearl, lines 9–10.

73 L’aigle tenoit son per prez d’elle. The gender of the birds poses certain challenges for the translator. Aigle (eagle) is grammatically feminine in Middle French (like Latin aquila), and the feminine pronouns in lines 73, 122–23, and 307 do not necessarily therefore indicate the eagle’s sex. Per, the word used to refer to the eagle’s mate in line 73, though grammatically masculine, also does not necessarily resolve the issue, but we have chosen to follow the grammar and to regard the eagle as a “she.” On the tercel and the falcon, see the note to 77.107–14 below.

99 Sacre. A saker is a type of falcon; all of the species mentioned here are birds of prey.

107–14 Un oyseil assis . . . tiercelet estoit. The tercel (Granson’s tiercelet, line 114) is by definition a male. The falcon (faucon) that it loves, however, though it must be female, is grammatically masculine and is referred to with masculine pronouns and adjective forms throughout. Similarly, in the bird episode in Le Livre Messire Ode, the man’s second love is a faucon (lines 1280, 1295; grammatically masculine), but he loses it to a tiercellet (grammatically masculine and another male, line 1299). In the translation, we have chosen to preserve the birdness of both tercel and falcon by designating them both as “it,” perhaps inconsistently with the choice we made regarding the eagle; see the note to 77.73 above. See also the note to 77.113–14 below.

113–14 Tresbien le faucon ressembloit, / Hor pres que tiercelet estoit. Among peregrines, the female is considerably larger and stronger than the male; compare the tercel’s praise of the falcon’s strength and hunting ability in lines 165–201. This sexual dimorphism helps explain this passage and justifies our translation “except that it was a tercel,” that is, “except that it was male” (not “but it was almost a tercel”).

126–30 Pour quoy vien . . . entour assemblé sont?. For Braddy, p. 66, the refusal of the eagle in Chaucer’s PF to choose a mate is proof of Chaucer’s dependence upon Granson, in which the tercel makes a similar refusal, since this is the feature than most distinguishes these two poems from other accounts of assemblies of birds.

140–41 change. Change is being used in two senses here, and we may have them reversed: the term is used in hunting (as still in modern French) to refer to an animal’s attempt to deflect its pursuer onto another prey, and more generally, it may be used for any type of change, for instance in the object of one’s affection.

157 Entre tous ses faucons a un. On the gender of the falcon see the note to 77.107–14.

165–201 On the female falcon’s skill at hunting see the note to 77.113–14 above. Wimsatt (FC, p. 227) notes Granson’s emphasis on the avian attributes of his birds, as in Machaut’s DLA, in contrast to Chaucer’s anthropomorphic description of the birds’ love relationships.

302–03 Sine vueil plus entre vous estre / Lors s’escria a haulte voix. Wimsatt (FC, p. 334n25) notes the parallel to Machaut’s DL, lines 312–13.

390–406 Wimsatt (FC, pp. 221–23, 334n28) labels the narrator’s stance here, joining his own incapacity for love (which has no contemporary French precedent) with his concern for other lovers, a “patently Chaucerian feature,” and he links it particularly to TC, 1.15–18, though he judges it less necessary and “poorly timed” in Granson’s case. If Granson did have TC in mind here, that would settle the question of the priority of this poem and PF, which was written earlier. Gilbert, however, observes a close verbal resemblance to PF, lines 512–18, and he assumes Chaucer to be the borrower (“‘Turtil Trewe,’” p. 165).

404–05 Soyent englois ou alemens, / De France né ou de Savoye. As Piaget notes (p. 141), this is the only reference in Granson’s poetry to his native Savoy. Carden (“Oton de Grandson,” p. 145) finds a “subtle hint of the poet’s love relationship” with Isabel of Bavaria, Queen of France, in these two lines, englois and Savoye referring to the poet himself, and alemens and France referring to Isabel (though that is not where she was born). Compare the note to 77.1–6 above.

410–25 Dont mains sont tristes . . . en habandon. Wimsatt (FC, pp. 223–24) notes the “emotive” value of the narrator’s final prayer, which also confirms the essentially lyric nature of the dits amoureux.


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.

GW25, Piaget p. 309.
Base MS A. Other copies: F (lines 402–50).

4 en grant sejour. A: grant sejour.

22 la Saint Valentin. A: Saint Valentin.

39 riviers. A: rivieres.

140 vouler. A: voule.

168 vouler. A: voules.

189 si. A: sil.

345 Qu’entre. A: Entre.

347 doubtent. A: doubte.

372 aiment. A: aime.

407 conforte. A, F: conforter.

417 envoie. A, F: envoit.

Print Copyright Info

77. Le Songe Saint Valentin


























































































77. Le Songe Saint Valentin

Il est grant aise de panser,
Se ce n’estoit que pour passer
Aucune fois l’eure d’un jour.
Bien met le corps en grant sejour,
En grant repoux et en grant aise
Le panser, qui le cuer apaise.
Panser puit homme jour et nuit
Ce qui lui plaist ou qui lui nuist.
Que ja nul ne pourra sçavoir
C’il panse fouleur ou sçavoir
Tant qu’il meisme le descouvre
Ou par parole ou par euvre.
Et si fait au cuer grant soulas,
Quant ungs homs est pesans ou las
Et il veult prandre son repoux.
Il puit panser sur tel propoux
Qu’en son propoux s’endormira.
Et, en dormant, il songera
Aucune chose merveilleuse,
Bonne pour lui ou dangereuse,
Aussi com je feis, au matin,
Le jour de la saint Valentin.
Celle nuit avoie voillié,
Car mon cuer m’avoit travaillé
Pour plusieurs diverses pansees,
Qui ne sont pas toutez passees.
Si m’avint que je m’endormis
Sur un lit ou je m’estoie mis.
Et me sembloit en mon dormant
Q’un rubis et un diamant,
Le jour devant, leissié avoie
En un vergier, et lez devoye,
Ad ce matin, aler cherchier.
Mais quant je vins prés du vergier
Ou cuiday trouver mez anyaux,
Je vy dedens pluseurs oyseaulx,
Blans et noirs, privés et sauvages,
Sors, muéz, nyais et ramaiges,
De bois, de champs et de riviers,
De maisons et de colommiers.
Petiz et grans, tous y estoient,
Et devers la mer y venoient
Oyseaulx de diverses fassons.
Illec faisoient leurs parssons.
Chascun y choisissoit son per
Qui veist l’un l’autre apper,
Bec et bec, masles et femelles,
Ilz se embrassoient dez elles
Et alignoyent leur plumectez.
Lez doulcez avec lez doulcetes,
L’un prés de l’autre se jognoyent
Et au souleil se pourrygnoient.
Et seulz qui savoient chanter
Vouloient leur mestier hanter.
Le roussinol et la maulvis
Se taisoient moult envis,
Dessus tous ouyr se faisoient.
Et les columbeaux se baisoyent.
Chascun faisoit en sa maniere
Ce qui lui sembloit que bon yere.
Et bien se sçavoient aisier,
Fust de regard ou de baisier,
Ou de tout se que l’un sçavoit
Qui a l’autre plaire devoit.
A leur samblant apparoit bien
Que chascun estoit liéz du sien,
Car ilz avoient souffisance
Et de tieulx biens grant habondance.
Entre eulx tous estoit assise
L’aigle, qui tenoit sa justice
Et faisoit a chascun raison,
Selon le jour et la saison.
L’aigle tenoit son per prez d’elle.
Celle parsson estoit moult belle,
Car tous estoient deux et deux.
Moult me plaisoit la vie d’eux
Et leur desduit que je veoye,
Et de ce grant soulas avoie
Qu’il me sembloit, en mon couraige,
Que j’entendoye leur langaige,
Dont j’estoie moult confortéz.
Et si estoit mon confort telz
Que j’oubliay mes anelés
Pour escouter les oyselés
Et pour ouyr ce qu’ilz disoient.
Si entendy bien qu’ilz usoient,
Trestous lez ans, a celle feste,
Que chascun d’eulx, teste pour teste,
Choisist a per en son degré
Cellui qui mieulx lui vient a gré.
Et font ensemble leur demour,
Pareille de cuer et d’amour,
Jusques a la fin de l’annee.
Et quant la saison est finee,
Qu’il veul, il puit son per changier
Et choisir autre sans dangier.
Entre eulx n’en est nulz dangier.
Mais soit faucon ou esprevier,
Sacre, gerfaut ou mylion,
Ou oyselet d’autre fasson,
Certez ceulz font faulceté
Qui premier brisent l’amictié.
Ne le teigne nul a mençonge.
Or vueil retourner a mon songe.
En mon dormant m’estoit advis
Entre lez autres que je vys
Un oyseil assis sur un pin
Qui sembloit faucon pelerin.
D’ellez, de chief et de coursaige,
De piés, de bec et de plumaige,
De long, de gros et de largeur,
De siege, des yeulx, de haulteur
Tresbien le faucon ressembloit,
Hor pres que tiercelet estoit.
Car de ce me prins je bien garde.
Ly oisel faisoit sur sa garde,nobr>
En sus des autres tout seulet,
Sans longes et sans chappelet.
Mais il avoit entour ses piés
Bonnes campanez et beaulx giés.
L’aigle, qui bien l’apparcevoit,
Comme celle qui cler y voit,
Le fit devant elle venir
Pour la coustume maintenir.
Et se lui dist, sans plus targier:
«Pour quoy vien tu si regarder
Nostre fait et nostre conseil,
Ce choisir n’en veulx un pareil,
Ainsy comme ses autres font
Qui si entour assemblé sont?»
«Aigle, fait il, pour Dieu mercy!
Saichés de vray que j’ay chosy
Si bien, si bel et si apoint
Que autre choisir ne vuel je point,
Et se ne puis, pour nul avoir,
Cellui que j’ay choisi avoir.
Ja soit mon affaire petis,
Si sui je dez oiseaulx gentiz,
Et ne sui mie si estrange
Que vouler vueille pour le change.
Le change ne m’est bel ne gens.
Je fus jadis privéz dez gens
Et, se je puis, encor seray.
Doulent sui que je mesarray,
Mais j’avoie de mal envie.
Se sçavoir voulez de ma vie,
Saichez de vray que j’ay esté
Plus d’un yver et d’un esté
En la garde d’un gentilhomme.
Nul besoing est que je le nomme.
Mais il m’a fait et apris,
Et tient mains bons oyseaulx de pris,
Faucons, tiercelés et laniers,
Voulans, reclamez et maniers,
Qui tresbien et haultement voulent,
Quant il fait bon temps et ilz veulent.
Entre tous ses faucons a un,
Et silz n’est mie du commun,
Mais est des autres despareil,
Tout ainsy comme le souleil
Est despareillié de la lune.
Cilz oyseaulz a telle fortune
Qu’il est aimez et chier tenuz
Devant tous autrez plus que nulz.
Tant par est beaul et bien voulant
Que chascun lui est bien vueillant.
Il est en tous ses fais certains
Et a vouler le plus haultains,
Et non obstant sa grant haultour,
Jamais ne feroit un faulx tour.
Tant scet a point de l’elle batre,
seul fait plus que vint et quatre,
Soit pour heron ou pour riviere.
Rien ne part s’il veult qu’il ne fiere,
Sans son corps trop esvertuer.
Mais il n’a cure de tuer,
Ains tient tout en subjection.
Car sa noble condition
Est de vouler tousjours plus hault.
Ja ne sera le jour si chault
Que de l’aler plonger ait cure,
Tant par est de noble nature.
De sa bonté ne fault parler
Pour bien vouler et revoler:
Il n’est oyseil qui mieulx l’endure,
En tant comme le monde dure.
N’il n’est besoing que on le hue,
Car il est tousjours vers la nue.
Et si part malart ou cercelle
Ne oyseil qui par force d’ale
Vueille contre le vent vouler
Pour soy cuidier a eulx sauver,
Cil la le fait tantost remectre,
Puisqu’il s’en vueille entremectre,
Soit de haulteur ou soit de tois.
Et puis si leur est si courtois
Qu’il ne lez fiert ne ne mehaigne.
Ou il ne veult ou il ne daigne,
Mais lez prent on vifz a la main.
Bien voule au tart et mieulx au main.
Bien fait d’esté et mieulx d’iver.
Jamais ne trouve temps diver.
Et si n’aimme change n’esor.
Il n’i a tel mué ne sor.
Cil a tous les autrez passéz.
Point n’est de bien faire lasséz,
Tant est gentil et vertueux,
Le bon, le bel, le gracieux.
Bien pert qu’il est de bon affaire,
Car il n’est nul plus debonnaire,
Plus doulz ne de meilleur coustume.
Et porte la plus belle plume
Que nul oysel puisse porter.
C’est un desduit a deporter
De lui regarder seulement,
Sans avoir plus d’esbatement,
Soit a l’ostel ou soit au champs.
Il n’est nul oysel mieulx sachans
De bien savoir faire son droit,
Grasieusement et a droit.
N’oncques ne vis si doulz regart
De nul oyseil, se Dieu me gard,
Ne qui tant feust polis et net
En tous lez lieux ou il se met.
Et s’on le veult lorrer ou paistre,
Il scet mieulx sez drois que son maistre.
Le bien de lui et la beaulté
Ne vous auroye pas compté
Entre cy et deux ans entiers,
Mais je vous diray voluntiers
En quel point j’ay mon temps usé.
Si me tiendrez pour excusé
De ce que cy pareil ne quier.
Autre chose ne vous requier.
Saichez de vray que cel oysel
Que lez gens tiennent a si bel
Et a si bon et a si doulx,
C’est cil que j’ay choisi sur tous,
Ja soit ce qu’il ne le scet pas.
Car je feroie grant trespas
Et grant folie et grant oultrage
Vers un oysel de son paraige,
Se pour mon par le demendoie.
Tel ne sui que fere le doye.
Mais pour ce que la norriture
Ne puit apaisier ma nature,
Ne restraindre le grant desir
Que j’ay qu’il me vousist choisir,
Et, d’autre part, j’ay grant paour
Que ce ne fust pour mon peyour
S’il le pouoit appercevoir,
Si que pour faire mon devoir
Et tous sez perilz eschever,
Sur espoir de confort trouver,
Je me suis un poy essouréz,
Et mon cuer lui est demouréz
Qui, nuit et jour, de lui ne part,
Ne choysir ne vueil autre part.
Jamais autre ne choisiray.
Pour lui ma franchise larray
Et tout le desduit du bosquaige.
Si me remectray en servaige,
Soit sur le poing ou soit emmue,
Sans ce que jamais m’en remue.
Il ne m’en chault par quelle voye,
Mais que souvent dez ieulx le voye.
Quar je n’ay plume mehaingnee.
Quant je sui en sa compaignie,
Je suis en parfaicte plaisance
A regarder sa contenance.
Et a veoir ce qu’il scet faire,
Que riens ne me pourroit meffaire.
Tant ayse suy quant ad ce vient
Que de mon mal ne me souvient.
Et se j’eusse cogneu
Le divers temps que j’ay eu
Et celluy que, jour et nuit, ay,
Depuis que de luy m’esloignay,
Saichés bien que par nul party
De luy ne me feusse party.
Mais onques, en tout mon vivant,
Senty n’avoye si avant
Quelle douleur est d’esloignier
Ce qu’on aime de cuer entier.
Or l’ay si avant esprouvé
Que maint mal jour y ay trouvé,
Et bien cognois qu’amour lointainne
Est de doulour rente certainne.
C’est mort de soy enamorer,
Qui vuelt longuement demourer
Sans revenir la ou il ayme.
Souvent convient que las se clame,
S’il n’a cuer d’acier ou de fer,
Car c’est un dez tourmens d’enfer,
Sans reppoux et sans finement.
Je le sçay de droit sentement.
A brief parler et le voir dire,
C’est bien de tous lez maulx le pire.
Et pour ce je retourneray
Le plus briefment que je pourray.
Or vous ay tout compté mon estre,
Si ne vueil plus entre vous estre.»
Lors s’escria a haulte voix:
«A Dieu vous commens; je m’en voys.»
Il print son voul et s’envoula,
Et l’aigle qui premierz parla
Dist, quant elle l’ost escouté,
Que bien avoit son fait compté
Et que loiaulment se pourtoit
L’oysel qui d’eux se departoit.
De celluy fait plus ne parlerent,
Mais tuit a un coup s’envolerent,
Ainsy comme il me sembloit.
Chascun a son per s’asembloit
En voulant parmy le pais,
Et je, qui remains esbais
Et euz du jour dormy partie,
M’esveillay sur leur departie,
Et me retournay sur mon lit,
Gisant a moult peu de delit,
Car lez oyseaulx que je songoie,
Qui d’amour ont douleur et joye,
Me firent, en songent, entendre
Que moult petit font a reprendre
Les gens, se ilz veulent amer.
A tort lez en puit on blasmer,
Mais qu’il droit faire leur vouldroit
Ja nulz ne lez en blasmeroit.
Lez oyseaulx a leur gré choisissent,
Et lez gens pour aimer eslisent
La ou leur plaisance s’acorde.
Dont bien souvent y a discorde,
Car a l’un plaist, a l’autre non.
Chascun quiert ce qui lui est bon.
Maiz quant bon accort y arive,
Il n’est nul qui si aise vive
Comme font cez gens amoureux,
Tant sont lez desduis savoureux.
L’amour des gens fait a parer,
Autre ne cy doit comparer.
Amour est chouse naturelle,
Mais elle ne sera ja telle,
Si loial ne si bien servie,
Ne tant a son droit assouvye,
Qu’entre lez oyseaulx et les bestez
Qui n’ont point de sens en leurz testez,
Et ne doubtent paour ne honte,
Et de dongier ne tiennent compte,
Mais vivent sans entendement.
L’amour dez gens est aultrement.
Gens ont le sens cler et loyal
Pour congnoistre le bien du mal,
Et si scevent, par voye bonne,
Garder le bien quant Dieu leur donne,
Et se le mal leur fault souffrir,
Aussy le sevent ilz couvrir
Et porter en humilité.
Quant gent ont mal, c’est grant pitié.
Tant de biens vueil a cellez gens
Qui en amer usent leur temps,
Que, de leur grief et de leur dueil,
Me vient souvent la larme a l’ueil,
Et si m’antre par my lez vainez
La remenbrance de leurs painez,
Qu’a poy me fait le cuer partir
Dez maulx qu’ilz leur convient souffrir.
En se penser ou lors estoie,
M’estoit advis que je sentoie,
Ainsy que par pitié dou lour,
En partie de la doulour
Et du mal que sez amans ont,
Quant ilz aiment du cur parfont
Et sont loing en estranges terrez,
Pour suir voyaiges ou guerres,
Et ont lez cuers en grant cremour
Pour doubtance de long demour,
Ne pour chose qui leur desplaise.
Le temps retourner ne lez leisse,
Mais leur est Fortune contraire,
Quant ilz ont volunté d’eulx traire
Celle part ou leur cuer lez tire,
Et paour de ce les martire
Qu’ilz ne scevent au revenir
A quoy leur fin pourra venir,
Ne plus que faisoit ly oyseaulx
Qui tant estoit ferme et loiaulx.
Telz gens ont moult poy de confort,
Se Espoir ne lez soustient fort.
Dez oyseaulx ne tiens je plus plait,
Mais du mal des gens me desplet,
Ja soit ce que je ne suy mye
Nesun de ceulx qui ont amie,
Et si ne suy n’aimé n’amis,
Ne oncquez ne m’en entremis,
Ne pas ne me vueil acointier
A moy mesler d’autruy mestier.
Car trop me tenroit on pour nice,
Se je prenoie tel office
Ou je ne sçay chanter ne lire,
Fors ainsy que par ouy dire.
Mais, non obstant ma grant simplece,
Tant est navré qui Amours blesse,
Que j’ay pitié de tous amans,
Soyent englois ou alemens,
De France né ou de Savoye,
Et prie a Dieu qu’il lez avoye
Et conforte a leurs besoings,
Nommeement ceulx qui sont loings
De la ou leur cuer est assis,
Dont mains sont tristes et pensis.
Et si requier au Dieu d’Amours
Qu’il vueille savoir leurs clamours
Et ouir les pleurs et les plains
Et les regars dont ilz sont plains.
Et face lez cuers souvenens
A cez damez de leurz amans,
Et leur envoie bonnez nouvellez
A ellez d’eux et a eulx d’ellez,
Et les face brief retourner
Et tous leurs fais a bien tourner.
Et quant ilz seront revenus,
Pour si loiaulx soient tenus
Que envieux ne mesdisans
Ne leur puissent estre nuisans,
Mais leur soit mis en habandon
D’amour le gracieux guardon,
Pour avoir parfaitte plaisance
Et chascun jour en acroissance
A honneur et au bien des damez
Et au plaisir de toutes femmes
Qui sont amiez ou amees,
Si que ja n’en soient blasmees.
Et tous ceulx qui amans se clament
Aient joye de ce qu’ilz aiment,
Selon l’estat de leur service,
Gardans lez drois et la franchise
Et tous les poins de loiaulté
Devant promis ou creanté.
Ne ja au Dieu d’Amours ne plaise
Que loial cuer perde sa place
Par nul nouvel entrevenant.
Ce ne seroit pas advenent.
Je ne leur puis de plus aydier
Fors seulement de souhaidier
Aussi comme pour moy feroye,
Se es las d’Amours me feroye
Ou maintez gens ont esté prins,
Qui, en eulz prenant, ont aprins
A sçavoir aimer de cuer fin.
Veés cy de mon songe la fin.
77. The Saint Valentine’s Dream

It is very comforting to think,
Even if it is only to pass
Occasionally the time of day.
It puts the body in great rest,
In great repose and at great ease —
Thinking, which calms the heart.
A man may think, day and night,
What pleases him or what does him harm.
For no one will ever be able to know
If he thinks folly or wisdom
Until he himself makes it known
Either by speech or by action.
And yet to the heart it does great solace
When a man is depressed or tired
And he wishes to take his rest.
He can think about such things
That in his thoughts he will fall asleep,
And while sleeping, he will dream
Some marvelous thing,
Good or difficult for him,
Just as I did, in the morning,
The day of the feast of Saint Valentine.
That night I had lain awake,
For my heart had troubled me
With many different thoughts
Which haven’t entirely gone away.
Yet it happened that I fell asleep
Upon a bed on which I lay,
And while I slept, it seemed to me
That the day before I had left behind
A ruby and a diamond
In a garden, and I had to go
That morning to look for them.
But when I came near to the garden
Where I thought to find my rings,
I saw within a great many birds,
White and black, tame and wild,
Fledgling, molted, nestlings, tree dwelling,
From the woods, the fields, and the rivers,
From houses and from dovecotes.
Small and large, all were there,
And from the sea there came
Birds of many different sorts.
There they were forming into pairs.
Each one there chose its mate
As they saw each other in the open.
Beak to beak, male and female,
They embraced each other with their wings
And they aligned their feathers.
The gentle with the gentle,
They joined, one next to the other,
And they stretched out to the sun.
And those who knew how to sing
Wanted to display their skill.
The nightingale and the redwing
Kept silent much against their will;
They made themselves heard above the rest.
And the doves kissed one another.
Each one did in its own way
What it found to be good.
And well did they know how to please,
Whether by a look or by a kiss,
Or by anything that one knew
That would give pleasure to the other.
By their appearance it certainly seemed
That each was happy with his own,
For they had just what they wished
And a great abundance of such good.
Among them all there was seated
The eagle, who dispensed justice
And gave each one what was right
According to the day and season.
The eagle had her mate beside her.
The pairing up was very beautiful,
For all were arranged two by two.
Their way of life greatly pleased me,
And their joy which I saw,
And from this I had great pleasure,
For it seemed to me, in my heart,
That I understood their speech,
By which I was greatly comforted.
And my comfort was so great
That I forgot about my rings
In order to listen to the birds
And to hear what they were saying.
Thus I learned that they were accustomed
Every year at this celebration
That each of them, one by one,
Should choose as a mate from within its rank
The one who was most pleasing to it.
And together they make their dwelling
Identical in heart and love,
Until the end of the year.
And when the season is ended,
Whoever wishes can change its mate
And choose another without refusal.
Among them there is no reluctance.
But whether falcon or sparrowhawk,
Saker, gerfalcon, or kite,
Or bird of some other sort,
Certainly they commit falsitynobr>
Who first breach the bond of friendship.
Let no one consider it a lie.
Now I want to return to my dream.
As I slept, it seemed to me
That among the others, I saw
A bird perched upon a pine
That seemed to be a peregrine.
In wings, in head, and in body,
In feet, in beak, and in plumage,
In length, in weight, and in size,
In its perch, its eyes, its height,
It closely resembled a falcon,
Except that it was a tercel.
For of this I took careful notice.
This bird was keeping watch
All alone above the others,
Without a tether and without a hood,
But it had around its feet
Fine bells and beautiful straps.
The eagle, who was well aware of it,
As she who sees clearly,
Had it come before her
In order to uphold the custom.
And thus she said, without delay,
“Why do you come thus to observe
Our proceedings and our council,
If you do not wish to choose a mate
Just as these others do
Who are assembled all around?”
“Eagle,” it said, “For God’s mercy,
Know for a truth that I have chosen
So well, so beautifully, and so perfectly
That I do not want to choose another,
And yet I cannot, for anything I own,
Have the one that I have chosen.
Even though my rank is low,
Yet I am one of the noble birds,
And I am not at all so strange
That I want to engage in any ruse.
Change is neither fair nor noble.
I used to be domesticated,
And if I can, I will be again.
I am sorry that I escaped,
But I had a great desire for pain.
If you wish to know about my life,
Know for truth that I have been
For more than a winter and a summer
In the possession of a nobleman.
There is no need for me to name him.
But he brought me up and taught me,
And he owns many good birds of worth,
Falcons male and female,
Flying, called back, and held in hand,
That fly very well and very high
When the weather is good and they so wish.
Among all his falcons there is one,
And it is not at all ordinary
But it is different from the others
Just as much as the sun
Is different from the moon.
This bird has such fortune
That it is loved and held dear
More than any, before all others.
It is so fair and flies so well
That everyone wishes well for it.
It is sure of itself in all it does,
And it is the highest to fly,
And despite its great altitude,
It would never make a false turn.
So well does it know how to beat its wings
It alone does more than twenty-four,
Whether for heron or water fowl.
Nothing escapes if it wishes to strike,
Without straining its body too greatly.
But it does not care to kill;
Rather it holds all in subjection.
For its noble condition
Is to fly always higher.
Never will the day be so hot/nobr>
That it desire to dive down from its course,
It is of so noble a nature.
There is no need to speak of its goodness
In flying out or flying back.
There is no bird that does it better
For as long as the world lasts.
And there is no need to urge it on
Because it is always up in the clouds,
And if a mallard or kestrel takes to flight
Or a bird that by force of wing
Wishes to fly against the wind
Thinking to escape from them,
It quickly makes it return to place,
Because it wishes to intervene,
Whether from the height or from the roof.
And yet it is then so courteous to them
That it neither strikes nor injures them.
Either it doesn’t want to or doesn’t care to,
But they are taken in hand alive.
It flies well late and better early;
It does well in summer and better in winter.
It never finds the weather variable.
And it does not care for ruse or flight.
There is no molted bird or fledgling like it.
It has surpassed all the others.
It is never tired of doing well,
It is so noble and virtuous,
The good, the fair, the gracious one.
It is very clear that it is of high rank,
For there is none more gracious,
More gentle, or of better disposition.
And it wears the most beautiful plumage
That any bird could wear.
It is a delight to enjoy
Just looking at it
Without any other pleasure,
Whether at home or in the field.
There is no bird that is wiser
In knowing how to do what it ought,
Graciously and properly.
Never did I see so gentle a look
From any bird, so help me God,
Nor any that was so polite and clean
In every place where it goes.
And if one wants to train or teach it,
It knows what is right better than its master.
Its virtue and its beauty
I couldn’t have described to you
If I took two whole years,
But I will tell you willingly
In what way I have spent my time.
Then you will consider me excused
For the fact that I do not seek its equal here.
I don’t ask anything else of you.
Know for truth that this bird
That the people consider so beautiful
And so good and so gentle,
Is the one that I have chosen above all,
Although it does not know it.
For I would commit a great offense
And great folly and great presumption
Towards a bird of its descent,
If I asked for it as my mate.
I am not worthy to do so.
But because my upbringing
Cannot subdue my nature
Nor restrain the great desire
That I have for it to choose me,
And, on the other hand, I greatly fear
Lest it turn out worse for me
If it could perceive it,
Thus in order to do what I must
And to avoid all of these perils,
In the hope of finding comfort,
I have taken flight for a while,
And my heart has remained behind,
Which night and day never parts from it,
Nor does it want to be anywhere else.
Never will I choose another.
For it I will give up my freedom
And all the delight of the woods.
And I will return to captivity,
Whether on the fist or in the cage,
Without ever leaving there again.
It doesn’t matter to me by what means,
As long as I often see it with my eyes.
For I have never hurt a feather.
When I am in its company,
I am in complete pleasure
In looking upon its countenance
And in seeing what it can do,
So that nothing could harm me.
I am so content when I come there
That I do not remember my pain.
And if I had known
The ups and downs that I have had
And that which I have, by night and day,
Since I separated from it,
Know well that on no account
Would I have parted from it.
But never, in all my life,
Had I felt so much before
What a sorrow it is to be apart
From the one that one loves with all one’s heart.
Now I have experienced so much since then
That I have had many a painful day,
And I know well that love from afar
Is a sure payment of sorrow.
It is death to be in love
For the one who wishes long to remain
Without returning there where he loves.
Often must he call himself miserable
Unless he has a heart of iron or steel,
For it is one of the torments of hell,
Without respite and without end.
I know it as a true feeling.
To speak briefly and to tell the truth,
It is easily of all pains the worst.
And therefore I will go back
Just as quickly as I can.
Now I have told you all my condition
And I wish no longer to be among you.”
Then it cried out in a loud voice,
“I commend you to God; I take my way.”
It took to flight and flew away,
And the eagle who spoke first
Said, when she had listened to it,
That it had told its story well
And that it behaved loyally,
The bird that departed from them.
Of this matter they spoke no further,
But all at once they flew away,
So as it seemed to me.
Each one joined with its mate
In flying throughout the country,
And I, who remained troubled
And had slept a part of the day,
Awoke with their departure,
And I turned over in my bed,
Lying with very little joy,
For the birds of which I dreamt,
Who have grief and joy in love,
Made me understand, in dreaming,
That humans do little to reproach
If they wish to love.
Wrongly can one blame them for it,
But whoever would do them justice
Would not blame them for it at all.
The birds choose according to their will,
And people choose to love
There where their pleasure is in accord.
Then very often there is discord,
For it pleases one and not the other.
Everyone seeks what is good for himself.
But when harmony is achieved,
There is no one who lives in such ease
As do these people who are in love,
So delightful are the pleasures.
Love causes people to seek one another.
Nothing else can compare to this.
Love is a natural thing,
But it will never be such,
So loyal nor so well served,
Nor carried out so properly,
As among the birds and the beasts,
Who have no sense in their heads,
And who aren’t afraid of fear or shame,
And take no account of disdain,
But live without understanding.
Love among humans is otherwise.
People have sense, clear and loyal,
In order to know good from bad,
And thus they know, by good means,
How to preserve the good that God gives them,
And if they must suffer wrong or pain,
They also know how to hide it
And bear it with humility.
It is a great pity when people have pain.
I wish so much good for these people
Who spend their time in loving,
That, because of their grief and sorrow,
A tear often comes to my eye,
And then enters into my veins
The remembance of their pains,
Which causes my heart to break a little
Because of the woes that they must suffer.
As I was in this thought,
It seemed to me that I felt,
As if out of pity for them,
A portion of the sorrow
And of the pain that these lovers have,
When they love from deep in their heart
And are far away in foreign lands
To go on trips or undertake wars,
And have their hearts in great dread
For fear of a long stay,
And for anything that might displease them.
Time does not allow them to return,
But Fortune is against them
When they have the wish to go
There where their hearts pull them,
And fear of this makes them suffer,
For they do not know upon returning
What their destiny will be,
Any more than did that bird
Who was so firm and loyal.
Such people have very little comfort
If Hope does not strongly sustain them.
I speak no further of the birds,
But the pain of humans troubles me,
Although I am not at all
One of those who have a lover,
And thus I am neither beloved nor a lover,
Nor did I ever get involved in it,
Nor do I wish to get to know
How to meddle in another’s business.
For one would consider me too silly
If I took up such a rite
Where I do not know how to sing or read
Except from what I have heard.
But despite my great simplicity,
So wounded is the one Love hurts
That I have pity on all lovers,
Whether they be English or German,
Born in France or in Savoy,
And I pray to God that he keep them
And comfort them according to their need,
Especially those who are far away
From the place where their hearts are set,
For which many are sad and pensive.
And thus I ask the God of Love
To please be aware of their cries
And to hear their weeping and lamenting
And the looks of which they are full.
And that he make the hearts of these women
Mindful of their lovers,
And that he send good news
To each of them about the other,
And that he make them come back quickly
And turn their situation to good.
And when they have returned,
Let them be held so loyal
That the envious and the slanderers
Not be able to do them harm,
But that the gracious rewards of love
Be granted to them in abundance
In order to have perfect pleasure
And every day in greater amount,
To the honor and to the good of the ladies
And to the pleasure of all women
Who are lovers or beloved,
In such a way that they are not blamed.
And may all those who call themselves lovers
Have joy of the ones they love,
According to the degree of their service,
Preserving the rights and the freedom
And every point of loyalty
Formerly promised or affirmed.
And may it never please the God of Love
That a loyal heart lose its place
Because of any new acquaintance.
That would not be right.
I cannot help them any further
Except only to wish
What I would wish for myself
If I placed myself in the bonds of Love
Where many people have been caught,
Who, on being captured, learned
To love with a pure and noble heart.
This is the end of my dream.

(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)


Go To 78. Le Livre Messire Ode