Cinkante Balades

JOHN GOWER, CINKANTE BALADES: EXPLANATORY NOTES


Abbreviations: Boethius: Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy; BD: Chaucer, Book of the Duchess; CA: Gower, Confessio Amantis, ed. Peck; F: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Fairfax 3; G: Glasgow, University of Glasgow Library, MS Hunter 59 (T.2.17); Mac: Macaulay, ed., The Complete Works of John Gower; MO: Gower, Mirour de l’Omme, trans. Wilson; OF: Old French; PF: Chaucer, Parliament of Fowls; RR: Chaucer, Romaunt of the Rose; Roman de la Rose Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, Le Roman de la Rose; Whiting: Whiting, Chaucer’s Use of Proverbs.

A note on capitalization: in these translations capitalization usually adheres to Macaulay’s practice, which, in general, replicates forms in the manuscript. Wherever capitalization may help the modern reader better comprehend Gower’s intention — as for example, in the case of theological concepts (e.g., “Providence,” Cinkante Balades, Dedication I.3) or allegorical figures (e.g., “Danger,” Cinkante Balades, XXIII.10) — capitalization is added here.



DEDICATION I

1 Pité is translated as “mercy,” but diphthongs typically reduce in Anglo–Norman, thus “piety” is an alternative. It would not be out of poetic character for Gower to have desired, and so engineered, the dual resonance.

5 Par vous. Lit. “Through you.”

DEDICATION II

9–14 See Textual Notes, p. 149, for Macaulay’s reconstruction of the missing lines.

20 reçoit. Indicative present tense, third person, but following “vendra” a subjunctive or optative seems intended.

21 estre. From “esse” and “stare”; hence, “existed.”

24 d’ascune. “Of any[one]” but possibly also simply “any villainy.”

I (CINKANTE BALADES)

1–14 Part of fol. 12 is torn out, thus both recto and verso portions are missing.

8 en vostre grace. “In your grace”; see MO lines 6645, 11436, and 27536, where “grace” is paired with “mercy”; also MO line 15215, paired with “pité”; MO line 18926, paired with “pardoun.” “In your grace” is common in CA, with the same sense, e.g., 1.732, “I put me therof in your grace”; and see further Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, e.g., III.472, Troilus “so ful stood in his lady grace”; and Canterbury Tales, e.g., of the Squire, General Prologue I(A)88, “in hope to stonden in his lady grace.”

13 –ssetz. Probably “[a]ssetz”; hence “enough,” “well enough.”

14 en autre place. Lit. “in another place.”

17 plesance. “Pleasures, happiness”; in context, perhaps ironic.

22 fortune. I.e., Fortuna; see Boethius, 2.pr.1.

II L’IVERN S’EN VAIT ET L’ESTÉE VIENT FLORI

4 renovelle. Lit. “renews,” “restores.”

5 De mes amours. Lit. “In accord with my affections.”

8 pres. [“soon after.”] Compare Modern French près, “near.”

21 que bon vous semblera. Lit. “whatever seems good to you.”

22 se poet tenir. Lit. “is able to maintain itself,” but Gower often uses present tense for future — as is clearly the sense here.

27 il vous remembrera. An impersonal construction normally, but here “il” seems meant to highlight the letter, since three lines earlier Gower — surprisingly, against his common practice throughout the balades and MO — makes “ce lettre” masculine.

III D’ARDANT DESIR CELLE AMOROUSE PEIGNE

4 Pour vous. Causal, i.e., “Because of you.”

6 De sa justice amour moun coer enhorte. I.e., “My heart exhorts Love to establish, bring about, or enforce justice”; alternatively, with “amour” as the subject, “Love exhorts my heart with its justice.”

16 A toutz les jours sanz departir me ploie. Lit. “Every day without [separating, taking leave] I fold [bend] (< ploier) myself”; but clearly both “me ploie” and “sanz departir” here are used figuratively, the former implying a contortionist’s effort, the latter in the sense of “unremittingly, without yielding or changing course.” N.b., the reappearance of “sanz departir” in the following two balades, IIII and IIII*, suggests purposive interconnection there, and with III here.

IIII D’ENTIER VOLOIR SANZ JAMMES DEPARTIR

17 Q’en mon pensant. Lit. “In my thought, recollection.”

V POUR UNE SOULE AVOIR ET REJOÏR

2 a noun chaloir. Impersonal: “to be of no importance” (compare Modern English “noncha­lant”).

16 la. “her”; alternatively, “it.”

18 Benoite soit. Present subjunctive, hence perhaps conditional: “might be.”

19 porra tenir. Lit. “is able to.”

25 ff. Marginalia in F: Les balades d’amont jesqes enci sont fait especialement pour ceaux q’attendont lours amours par droite mariage. [“The balades from the beginning up to this point are made especially for those who wait on their loves in expectation of marriage.”] q’attendont. Lit. “wait on.”

VI LA FAME ET LA TRESHALTE RENOMÉE

2 ff. Marginalia in F: Les balades d’ici jesqes au fin du livere sont universeles a tout le monde, selonc les propretés et les condicions des Amantz, qui sont diversement travailez en la fortune d’amour. [“The balades from here until the end of the book are universal, for everyone, according to the properties and conditions of Lovers who are diversely suffering the fortunes of Love.”] la fortune d’amour. Lit. singular, “fortune of Love”; idiomatically plural in English, i.e., “ups and downs.” Hence Fortuna as a personification is not intended.

5 M’ad trespercié l’oreille et est impresse. Lit. requires a singular subject, but Gower’s evident intention hearkens back to plural nouns in lines 1–2.

6–7 par quoi mon oill desire, / Vostre presence au fin qe jeo remire. N.b., Gower here extends the usual one-line refrain by a half a line.

7Vostre presence. Lit. “your [physical] presence,” so perhaps with pointedly high courtly intent (compare “noblesce,” “grant valour,” and “haltesse” in stanza 2), and thus to be taken less idiomatically than “in person.”

remire. “look on” with additional senses of “admire,” “contemplate”; “remirer” also carries a reflexive sense of “look at one’s self” (in a mirror).

20 Le bon amour. Lit. “good love,” by courtly tradition “loyal.”

VII DE FIN AMOUR C’EST LE DROIT ET NATURE

1 fin amour. I.e., “amour courtoise,” love as idealized in the courtly tradition: refined, pure, noble, ennobling, loyal, gentle, unwavering.

5 honourée. Both “honorable one” and (implied) “the one [I] honor.”

23–24 Plus . . . plus. “More” (quantity) as well as “more” (time): Gower plays upon the elasticity of the word for punning effect.

VIII D’ESTABLE COER, QUI NULLEMENT SE MUE

2 le penser. Lit. an infinitive, here presented as masculine: hence, e.g., “Ses Eles” (line 4), and throughout, indicating the wings of thought, not of the falcon.

4 souhaid et desirer. Allegorical personifications.

17 retenue. Macaulay (Mac, 1:463, note VIII.17) translates “engagement”; the central idea, however, seems to be a vow of loyalty, even of vassalage. Compare XV.14 and Traitié III.20.

22 Ceste balade a vous fait envoier. Lit. “This balade is made to send to you.”

IX TROP TART A CEO QE JEO DESIRE ET PROIE

5 amis. Lit. “friend” but in the courtly sense much larger: “one who loves you,” “lover.”

8 En vous remaint ma sovereine joie. N.b., Gower twice breaks patterns in this poem by a) adding a fourth and fifth stanza to the usual three, and b) closing only the first and final stanzas with this refrain line, rather than repeating throughout.

9–10 De mes deux oels ainçois qe jeo vous voie, / Millfoitz le jour mon coer y est tramis. I.e., the eye as the window to the oul/heart; see Roman de la Rose, e.g., lines 1692, 1741, etc.

14 Desir. Personification.

25 m’esbanoie. Lit. “I divert myself.”

28 fremis. Lit. “shake, quiver.”

37 ne suis poestis. Lit. “I am not powerful [enough].”

X MON TRESDOULS COER, MON COER AVETZ SOULEINE

6 plie. Lit. “bow, bend,” so perhaps here with a sense of the lover’s lowliness and the lady’s exaltation; compare “si halt lieu” (line 10) and “supplie” (line 20).

7 ameisté. “Amity” is a weak English substitute for a broader and more passionate courtly term; see “amis” (IX.5).

8 la fortune. Here taken as Fortuna, since it “leads” (“meine”).

10 si halt lieu. Lit. “so high a place,” e.g., “honored,” “exalted.”

13 s’allie. Lit. “binds itself” (“to you” implicit).

15 S’amour. Personification, since it “wishes” (“volt”).

16 Et faire tant qe jeo m’esjoierai. Lit. “And to act so that I may rejoice.”

20 supplie. Lit. “bend” but with broader resonances: “bend the knee,” i.e., “humbly beg” (feudal); “supplicate”; and compare as a reflexive, “prostrate one’s self”; see also “plie,” above (line 6).

24 balade escrite. “Written balade,” perhaps recalling the earlier, exclusively sung form (?) or to emphasize the lover’s originality (“this balade I have made”).

XI MES SENS FOREINS SE POURRONT BIEN MOVOIR

7 Si vous fuissetz un poi plus amerouse. Lit. “If you were a little bit more amorous”; so, perhaps, “more inclined to love.”

20 par reson. Lit. “by reason,” “according to reason.”

22 cest escris. Lit. “this writing.”

23 dangerouse. “Disdainful,” “rebuffing,” “blunt,” “uncourteous”; for Gower’s usage, see the personification “Danger” in Roman de la Rose and CA.

24 Meilour de vous om sciet en null paiis. Lit. “Better than you one knows in no country.”

XII LA DAME A LA CHALANDRE COMPARER

1 la Chalandre. “Plover”: compare MO lines 10707–17. Wilson translates “lark,” apparently following Chaucer’s usage, RR lines 663 and 914, where “chelaundre/ chalaundres/chalaundre” appear, respectively, in lists of singing birds; hence Skeat’s glossary, s.v. “chalaundre,” “a species of lark (Alauda calandra).” But that the lark is Gower’s bird is doubtful. In MO, lines 10708–10, the chalandre is used to represent “Contemplacioun” and “au mye nuyt tout coy / Devers le ciel prent son voloy / Si halt comme puet en sa mesure” (“at midnight very quietly takes flight toward heaven, as high as it can possibly go,” trans. Wilson). Larks, rightly known for their singing, not their meditative example, are not night fliers, and Alaudra calandra, while common in France (whence Roman de la Rose, which Chaucer translates), did not inhabit fourteenth-century England. More likely Gower had in mind the “charadrius,” which in Deuteronomy 14:16–18 (at 18) and Leviticus 11:19 is listed among unclean birds of the shore and marsh (e.g., heron, swan, stork, cormorant, “porphirion” [sultana-hen, Fulica porphyrio], night heron, bittern, hoopoe); but his direct source was a version of Physiologus, which notes
If someone is ill, whether he will live or die can be known from the
charadrius. The bird turns his face away from the man whose illness will
bring death . . . if the disease is not fatal, the charadrius stares the sick
man in the face and the sick man stares back at the charadrius, who
releases him from his illness. Then, flying up to the atmosphere of the
sun, the charadrius burns away the sick man’s illness and scatters it
abroad. (trans. Curley, 7–8)
Plovers — properly birds of the order Charadriiformes, which includes the genus Charadrius (as well as the genus Vanellus, the lapwing) — are small waders common in England. Of particular interest to the Kentishman Gower might have been Charadrius alexandrinus, the Kentish or Snowy Plover, which until recently bred in England and gets its name from its all-white appearance when viewed in flight, from below. Perhaps not insignificantly, Physiologus describes the charadrius as “entirely white with no black part at all” (trans. Curley, p. 7). See also Bestiary, trans. White (a translation of Cambridge University Library MS II.4.26, a twelfth-century Latin prose bestiary possibly from Revesby Abbey in Lincolnshire), which argues (p. 115n1) for the “white wagtail (Motacilla alba Linn.) for wagtails are still regarded in Ireland with a superstitious dread. The markings of their heads are skull-like.” The most extensive study is G. C. Druce, “The Chalandrios and Its Legend, Sculpted upon the Twelfth Century Doorway of the Alne Church, Yorkshire,” Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 69 (1912–13), 381–416.

13 la feture. “Form” but also “face,” “features,” “bodily shape.”

22 vair. “Varius,” “variegated,” “mottled,” “parti-colored,” but also “various,” “changeable.” This is the standard eye-description for damsels of romance (see Oiseuse [Idleness], Roman de la Rose, line 521 [RR, line 546: “Hir yen grey as is a faucoun”]); for example, Guinevere, Iseult, and other beautiful women in romances are often praised for their “gray” eyes. “Gray” is usually translated as a color, blue and/or gray, sometimes as “bright, shining” (see Greimas, Dictionnaire, “clair”); but perhaps “changeable” is an intended part of the mix as well. See XXVII.1.

XIII AU MOIS DE MARSZ, U TANT Y AD MUANCE

7 Ore ai le coer en ease, ore en destance. N.b., predictably a line from this position would repeat throughout, but Gower avoids a refrain in this balade. See poems XIIII, XVI, and XVII below.

11 nature. Nature, personification; compare Alain of Lille, De planctu Naturae; PF.

21 desavance. “Diminishes,” or perhaps “dims.”

22 en aventure. Implies both randomness and risk.

XIIII POUR PENSER DE MA DAME SOVEREINE

7 Plus qe Paris ne soeffrist pour Heleine. N.b., predictably a line from this position would repeat throughout, but Gower avoids a refrain in this balade. See XIII, above, and XVI and XVII, below.

20 Ne puiss faillir del un avoir estreine. I follow Macaulay’s translation of this line; see Mac, 1:464, note 20.

23 Q’a vous parler me falt du bouche aleine. Lit. “Because to speak to you breath of/from the mouth fails me.”

XV COM L’ESPERVER QE VOLE PAR CREANCE

14 retenue. See VIII.17, above; compare >i III.20.

XVI CAMELION EST UNE BESTE FIERE

1 Camelion. That chameleons lived on air was common belief; see Dan Michel, Ayenbite of Inwyt, 1:62. This classical notion was carried into the Renaissance; see Shakespeare, Hamlet, III.ii.93.

8 Ne puiss de grace trover celle sente. N.b., predictably a line from this position would repeat throughout, but Gower avoids a refrain in this balade. See XIII and XIV, above, and XVII, below.

18 espoir. Here, allegorical personification; but compare “De vein espoir,” XVI.10.

19 A volenté sanz fait est chamberere. The subject must be “souhaid” above (XVI.17).

XVII NE SAI SI DE MA DAME LA DURTÉE

8 Tant meinz reprens, com plus l’averay doné [“The more I give, the greater is my rejection”]. N.b., predictably a line from this position would repeat throughout, but Gower avoids a refrain in this balade. See XIII, XIV, and XVI, above.

14 Om dist, poi valt service q’est sanz fée. [“Men say, poor is the service that is without reward.”] Cited as a proverb in Whiting (p. 296).

XVIII LES GOUTES D’EAUE QE CHEONT MENU

8 Tiel esperver crieis unqes ne fu. “Esperver” is (technically) the Eurasian sparrow hawk (Accipter nisus), the most common hawk native to England; often, however, members of the families Accipitridae and Falconidae, true falcons, have been casually blended (e.g., the North American sparrow “hawk,” Falco sparverius; John Hill, History of Animals [1752], the sparrow hawk, a “yellow-legged falcon,” p. 341). Accipter nisus is not unusual in its cry; Gower is probably using the term generally, with reference to the piercing cry of all raptors. See MO lines 25285–87; Chaucer, The Squire’s Tale, Canterbury Tales V(F) 411–13: “Ther sat a faucon over hire heed ful hye, / That with a pitous voys so gan to crye / That all the wode resouned of hire crye.”

23 Diamant. “Diamond” in most lapidaries, e.g., Peterborough: “Diamand” [LIX]; North Midland: “Dyamaunde”; London: “Diamaunde” [XVII]; Sloane: “Diamonde” [I]; however, see Peterborough: “adamas” [V] for “diamond” (and the directive “Require ulterius in diamonde”) and its proximity there to “adamant” [VI] for “adamant”; see Sloane: “adamand” [IV] for “adamant.” Complicating the case further is that both share several characteristics, the most important one for determining Gower’s meaning here being impenetrable hardness. Thus, an alternative translation here must be “adamant,” “lodestone,” the iron-based, magnetic stone from India. See XXXVIII, stanza 1.

XIX OM SOLT DANTER LA BESTE PLUS SALVAGE

1–2 Om solt danter . . . soulement. Compare Arion, CA Prol.1057–65; compare also Orpheus, in Boethius, III.met.12.

14–15 Sibille le sage / S’estrange. Virgil’s Sybil inhabits a cave in Cumae opening into Hades (Aeneid VI) but she neither retreats there nor is difficult for Aeneas to find. Gower’s reference is probably to Ovid’s retelling of Aeneas’ encounter, Metamorphoses XIV.130–53, in which the Sybil explains that while Apollo granted her a thousand years of life, she did not think also to ask for continuing youth. When she discovered her error, he sought to exchange youth for her virginity. Refusing, she doomed herself to “shrivel / . . . from [her] full form to but a tiny thing, and [her] limbs, / consumed by age, [to] shrink to a feather’s weight” (lines 147–49, trans. Miller). Obviously to “remove herself” in that way has significant implications for the balade as a whole.

XX FORTUNE, OM DIST, DE SA ROE VIRE ADES

1 Fortune, om dist, de sa Roe vire ades. Lit. “Fortune, one says, about her wheel has to turn.” See Boethius, II.pr.1.

11 estat. “State,” or perhaps “place, position.”

17–18 Palamedes . . . Agamenon. “The clever one” helped Agamemnon by exposing Odysseus’ feigned madness; Gower’s source is Hyginus’ Fabulae, 95.2.

19–20 Diomedes . . . Troilus. See Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, Book V.

22 Du fille au Calcas. I.e., Criseyde.

XXI AU SOLAIL, QE LES HERBES ESLUMINE

6 menerai. Lit. “pursue” (as in a hunt); “conduct,” “administer.” The choice of a verb with disparate nuances — all appropriate to and enriching the context — is common Gowerian practice.

8 vilenie. Lit. “churlishness, discourtesy, vulgarity” but in the “celestial” context of the subsequent stanza, perhaps also to be understood contrastingly in a modern sense, i.e., as “wickedness, evil.” In contrast with “honest affection” (line 23), the sense is lecherous deception. See also CA 8.1431, where “vileinie” describes the attempts by multiple young men to deflower Thaise in Leonin’s brothel, where the term equates with “lechery”and “villainous behavior.”

9–13 Si femme . . . conversacioun. The language of deification is noteworthy here and throughout. See especially XXIIII and XXXI.

19 Ne truist. Subjunctive third person singular.

20 Honte et paour. See Roman de la Rose, lines 3011–16.

XXII J’AI BIEN SOVENT OÏ PARLER D’AMOUR

8 en ris . . . en plour. “In laughter . . . in tears,” or perhaps “joyful . . . in lament.”

12 hoste et tolt. Both mean “remove”; pairs of synonyms are stylistic embellishments.

XXIII POUR UN REGARD AU PRIMERE ACQUEINTANCE

5 Du destre main jeo l’ai ma foi plevi. See Traitié XVII.2.

8 ymage. Lit. “image,” “likeness,” “figure.”

9 lui. One expects the feminine “la,” but Gower treats masculine and feminine forms interchangeably, guided by metrical need. Perhaps he has in mind some­thing like Bel Aceuil (Fair Welcome) in Roman de la Rose, who, though gram­mat­ically masculine, is the quality of the woman most ardently sought by her suitors who would hope to discover him revealed through her countenance, uninhibited by Danger (line 10).

17 esperance. Personification, “Hope”; see Roman de la Rose, e.g., lines 2615–25.

XXIIII JEO QUIDE QE MA DAME DE SA MEIN

7 Q’en lui gist toute ma devocioun. See XXI, stanza 2, and XXXI, stanza 3, for other examples of the Lover worshipping the Lady.

22 faie. “Enchanted,” or perhaps “a faerie”; compare XXVII.22.

26 Soul apres dieu si m’estes soverein. Compare XXI, stanza 2.

XXV MA DAME, SI CEO FUIST A VO PLESIR

8 Car qui bien aime ses amours tard oblie. [“Because he who loves well forgets his loves late.”] Fisher, John Gower: Moral Philosopher (p. 76), notes — incorrectly — this line as “used by Chaucer in the rondel at the end of the Parliament of Fowls” (actually a note in the margin in several PF manuscripts, at line 680: “Qui bien aime a tard oublie”); similar (albeit octosyllabic) lines have been noted (e.g., in Machaut’s “Le lay de plour” [Oeuvres, I, 283] and Moniot d’Arras’ hymn to the Virgin; Deschamps uses the line exactly in Balade 1345 [Oeuvres, VII, 124–25]); cited in Whiting (p. 40) as a French proverb.

9–10 Ils sont . . . curroie. Compare perhaps Exeter Book Riddle 44.

25 bon amour. Personification, the God of Love; see Roman de la Rose, lines 863 ff.

26 De male langue. Compare Malebouche, Roman de la Rose, lines 2823 and 3871–92; see also Dedication I.22–25.

XXVI SALUTZ HONOUR ET TOUTE REVERENCE

14 Vous donne. There is no expressed object (one expects “myself”).

XXVII MA DAME, QUANT JEO VI VOSTRE OILL [VAIR ET] RIANT

1 vostre oill [vair et] riant. Macaulay notes (Mac, 1:466, note XXVII.1) “The first line is too long, but the mistake may be that of the author. Similarly in MO, lines 3116 and 14568, we have lines which are each a foot too long for the metre. In all cases it would be easy to correct: here, for example, by reading ‘Ma dame, quant jeo vi vostre oill riant.’” Compare XII.8.

8–9 Amour . . . desplaie. Compare Petrarch, Sonnet 140.

12 deslaie. Lit. “releases, lets go.”

16 manaie. “Care”; also “pity, mercy, protection.”

22 la bealté plus qe faie. Compare XXIIII.22, and CA 4.1321.

23 vilein. Compare XXI: “Sanz mal penser d’ascune vilenie” (lines 8, 16, 24, and 28).

XXVIII DAME, U EST ORE CELLE NATURESCE

7 Om voit sovent de petit poi doner. [“Often one sees little being given.”] Cited as a proverb in Whiting (p. 296).

11 Dont par dolour jeo sui sempres faili. Lit. “Thus through sadness I am always lacking.”

16 parmi. Lit. “throughout,” so perhaps “always”?

XXIX PAR DROITE CAUSE ET PAR NECESSITÉ

5 Mais fame, q’est par les paiis volable. Fame in its avatar of Rumor; see Shakespeare, Henry IV Part 2, Induction.

7 fable. Lit. “(untrue) story,” “falsehood.”

8 Q’est d’amour loigns est de desease pres. [“Whoever is far away from love is near distress.”] Cited as a proverb in Whiting (p. 296).

XXX SI COM LA NIEF, QUANT LE FORT VENT TEMPESTE

4 orra. Lit. future third person singular “will hear.”

10–13 N’ot tiel paour . . . de ma partie. I.e., “Ulysses’ fear of the Sirens or Circe was no greater than mine of you now.”

19 La chiere porte. Lit. “The dear door/gate” (porte=feminine); but masculine “port” (“harbor/port”), given both Gower’s general lack of concern about gender and the nautical imagery here, seems more likely. See also “port” (masculine)= “pass, narrow passage” in context of Ulysses’ voyage (and perhaps with a bawdy undertone as well).

XXXI MA BELLE DAME, BONE ET GRACIOUSE

8 bon amour. That is, “virtuous love.” Compare “fin amour” in XXI.5 and XXIIII.6.

XXXII CEST AUN NOVELL JANUS, Q’AD DOUBLE FACE

1 Janus. The two-faced Roman god of portals; hence Latin “Januarius,” the first month of the Roman calendar.

7 salue. “Saves”; possibly “greets,” but “point” suggests “saves.”

XXXIII AU COMENCER DEL AUN PRESENT NOVELL

4 Pour le tenir sicom vostre demeine. [“To hold as if it were your demesne.”] I.e., a feudal lordship, land solely owned by the lord and worked by peasant tenants. As a lawyer with demonstrable experience buying and selling property, Gower would have been familiar with the legal distinctions implicit in the term.

XXXIIII SAINT VALENTIN L’AMOUR ET LA NATURE

1–8 Saint Valentin . . . obeïr. See PF line 309 ff.; Nature here clearly is to be taken as the goddess. See also Chaucer, Legend of Good Women F line 145, G line 131; Alain of Lille, De planctu Naturae Prose 1.

8 U li coers est, le corps falt obeïr. [“Where the heart is, the body must follow.”] Cited as a proverb in Whiting (p. 296).

18–19 Alceone et Ceïx . . . figure. See Ovid, Metamorphoses XI.410 ff.; see also BD lines 62–220.

XXXV SAINT VALENTIN PLUS QE NULL EMPEROUR

8–9 Com la fenix . . . regioun. [“As the phoenix . . . region of Arabia.”] On the regeneration of phoenix in fire, see Physiologus (trans. Curley, p. 13) where, however, the bird is said to originate in India, and is apparently a species, not a unique bird; Ovid, Metamorphoses XV.391 ff., includes its singularity, but locates its habitat as Assyria; Isidore, Etymologies XII.vii.22, and Bestiary (trans. White, pp. 125–28) list all the ele­ments: uniqueness, fiery reproduction, Arabia. Assuming Cambridge Uni­versity Library MS II.4.26 is of English origin, Gower would seem to be following an English tradition. See the Black Knight’s praise of the “goode Faire White” as “the soleyn fenix of Arabye, / For ther livyth never but oon” (BD lines 982–83).

22 Chascun Tarcel . . . falcoun. See PF lines 393 ff.

XXXVI POUR COMPARER CE JOLIF TEMPS DE MAII

3 Car lors chantont et Merle et Papegai. The British blackbird (Turdus merula) is the most tuneful of the three major indigenous thrushes, singing from January to June; the parrot (or perhaps a woodpecker) has a song only in poetry (see Chaucer’s Sir Thopas, Canterbury Tales VII[B2]767, although probably a joke). Gower seems to have considered the “papegai” a generally exotic — and sinless? — bird; see MO line 26781.

15 Rose. See Roman de la Rose lines 1613 ff., especially 1652–87.

16 chapeals. Chaplet-making in May is traditional for lovers; see also Roman de la Rose line 1651.

18 j’ai mon coer mis. Lit. “I have placed my heart.”

XXXVII EL MOIS DE MAII LA PLUS JOIOUSE CHOSE

15 se desclose. Lit. “discloses itself.”

16 Maii m’ad hosté de sa blanche banere. Or perhaps “bright banner,” i.e., with color, flowers, etc.?

XXXVIII SICOM LA FINE PIERE DAIAMAND

1–2 Daiamand. Not “diamond” here (as in XVIII.23) but “lodestone, magnet”; compare OF “aimant”=both “diamond” or “lodestone” (Greimas, Dictionnaire); compare also lapidaries, e.g., Sloane: “adamand” [IV]; Peterborough: “adamant” (VI), an entry ending “Require ulterius in magnetes,” and which follows “adamas” [V], an entry ending “Require ulterius in diamonde”; compare also Peterborough: “magnes” [CVII]), Old English: “magneten,” London: “magnete” (XXI), North Midland: “magnete” (XX). The common denominator appears to be ferrous metals — iron and steel — which the hardness of diamond breaks or cuts through, and the lodestone attracts, or vice versa: see, e.g., the preference of the “piere dyamant tresfine” for an iron over a gold setting in MO line 12463 ff.

13 ravi. “Carried away,” or perhaps “ravished.”

15–18 Toutes vertus . . . mours. Gower has in mind the cardinal virtues (Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude) and the theological or divine virtues (Faith, Hope, and Charity; see 1 Corinthians 13:13). The former are products of nature, the latter gifts of God; see Aquinas, Summa Theologica Q.61.1–2, Q.62.1–4, and Q.63.1–4.

18 mours. “Mores, morals,” or perhaps “customs” in the sense of “habits,” as Aquinas’ “mos” is often translated (e.g., by Pegis).

XL OM DIST, PROMESSES NE SONT PAS ESTABLES

5–6 Heleine . . . Menelai. See XIIII and Traitié X.

13 Et prendre ailours la chose q’est foreine. See lines 5–6 above; Helen and Menelaus are Greeks, Paris a Trojan.

XLI DES FALS AMANTZ TANTZ SONT AU JOUR PRESENT

1–2 Des fals amantz . . . doloir. N.b., XLI–XLIV and LXVI are in the voice of the lady.

8 bien s’avise. Lit. “advises herself well.”

25 Tu. N.b., in her contempt, the lady adopts the familiar pronoun (second person singular) when addressing the rejected suitor throughout XLI–XLIII.

XLII SEMBLABLES SONT LA FORTUNE ET LES DÉES

1 la fortune. Clearly the goddess Fortune, who “pretends to be friendly to those she intends to cheat” (Boethius, II.pr.1).

12 constreignte. Lit. “constraint, binding” but also with the sense of “compulsion,” as is perhaps intended here.

21–22 la conscience . . . fraude et malengin. Clearly allegorically imagined, as figures capable of pregnancy and being born.

XLIII PLUS TRICHEROUS QE JASON A MEDÉE

1–5 Jason . . . Phillis. See Jason and Medea, CA 5.3247 ff., Traitié VIII; Deianira and Hercules, >i 2.2258 ff., Traitié VII; Aeneas and Dido, CA 4.77 ff.; Theseus and Ariadne, CA 5.5231 ff.; Demophon and Phyllis, CA 4.731 ff.; see also Ovid, Heroides XII, IX, VII, X, and II; see also note 9 below. Fisher, John Gower: Moral Philosopher (p. 76), compares this opening list to Oton de Graunson’s “Ho! Doulce Yseult, qui fus a la fontaine / Avec Tristan, Jason et Medea” (as cited by Fisher, p. 344n21); see also Yeager, Gower’s Poetic, pp. 109–10.

8 C’est ma dolour, qe fuist ainçois ma joie. Fisher, John Gower: Moral Philosopher (p. 76), notes the echo of the refrain in Machaut XXIV: “C’est ma dolour et la fin de ma joie”; see also Yeager, Gower’s Poetic, pp. 110–11.

9 Ector . . . Pantasilée. See CA 4.2138 ff., 5.2547 ff.; and Benoît de Ste.-More, Roman de Troie lines 23283 ff. (also a main source for Jason and Medea, CA 5.3247 ff. and perhaps for note 1–5, above).

17–19 Lancelot . . . Partonopé. All eponymous knights of romances; Lancelot and Tristran, see CA 8.2500 ff., Traitié XV; Florent, see CA 1.1407 ff. Generides and Partonopé (of Blois) appear here uniquely; for manuscripts and early editions, see Loomis and Loomis, Medieval Romances.

XLIIII VAILANT, COURTOIS, GENTIL ET RENOMÉE

2 de vo promesse. N.b., addressing her new, loyal suitor, the lady uses the formal pronoun (third person singular).

5 Si jeo de Rome fuisse l’emperesse. Fisher, John Gower: Moral Philosopher (p. 76): echoes Deschamps balade CCCCVII (3.20) “Telle dame estre emperies de Romme”; see also Yeager, Gower’s Poetic, pp. 110–11.

7 ami . . . amie. “Your friendship . . . good friend.” Or perhaps “lover . . . lover” (or even “boyfriend . . . girlfriend,” noting gender distinction available in French).

XLV MA DAME, JEO VOUS DOI BIEN COMPARER

1 Ma dame. N.b., XLV and XLVII are spoken by the new lover.

2–4 cristall . . . medicine. Not universally cited in the lapidaries; properties include focusing the sun’s rays to start fires and increasing the milk of nursing women: see London XXXVI; also, probably more pertinent: “Touch ye Christall with ye stone that hath lost his vertue through ye sine of him / that bereth him uppon him, so yt he amend him of his sinne he shall returne his strength as in his kind through ye vertue of ye Christall stone” (Sloane XXVI); and see also Peterborough XXXIX.

17 Le Cristall est de soi et blanc et clier. “Christall is cleare and white,” Sloane XXVI; “Manye trowen that snowe or yesse is mad hard in spas of many yers,” Peterborough XXXIX, describing the origin of crystal.

XLVI EN RESEMBLANCE D’AIGLE, QUI SURMONTE

1–2 d’aigle . . . dessure. Eagles, when they age, are said to fly to the sun to restore youth. See Physiologus (trans. Curley, p. 12) and Bestiary (trans. White, p. 105).

20 m’esmai. “frighten myself,” or perhaps “I am troubled.”

XLVIII AMOUR EST UNE CHOSE MERVEILOUSE

20 la merle est forsbanie. Lit. “the blackbird is banished” (i.e., the bird kept for its melodious song is replaced by a goose).

XLIX AS BONS EST BON ET A LES MALS MALVOIS

9–12 Qui son dieu . . . semblablement. See Matthew 22:37–39, Mark 12:29–31.

L DE VRAI HONOUR EST AMOUR TOUT LE CHIEF

1 De vrai honour est amour tout le chief [“Of true honor wholly the chief is Love”]. Cited as a proverb in Whiting (p. 296).

4 franc et loial. “Free and loyal”; or perhaps “openhanded and trustworthy, honorable.”

8 Amour s’acorde a nature et resoun. By “Love” here Gower means the god of Love; yet probably also the universal God who is Love: see Dante, Paradiso XXXIII.145: “l’amor che move il sole e l’altre stele”; and Boethius, II.met.8.

12–13 Sibien les choses . . . resonal. [“Both to the things . . . rational to man.”] Broadly, the two parts of human nature: see Aquinas, Summa Theologica Q.75.a.6. See also Traitié I.

26 Mais en droit moi c’est la conclusioun. Very likely marks the original end of the Cinkante Balades. Along with the two dedicatory balades to Henry IV at the beginning, LI and the seven-line prayer for England under Henry’s rule are best taken — as Macaulay suggested (see below) — as original to British Library MS Additional 59495 and occasionally composed. Absent these poems, no reference restricts what can be called the Cinkante Balades proper to an origin after the accession of Henry in 1399.

LI AMOUR DE SOI EST BON EN TOUTE GUISE

Macaulay (Mac, 1:470, note LI) notes: “This balade is not numbered [i.e., in the manuscript] and does not form one of the ‘Cinkante Balades’ of which the title speaks. It is a kind of devotional conclusion to the series. The envoy which follows, ‘O gentile Engleterre,’ does not belong to this balade, being divided from it by a space in the MS. and having a different system of rhymes. It is in fact the envoy of the whole book of balades.”

25–31 O gentile Engleterre . . . prosperité. Compare with envoys to Dedicatory balades I and II, with which this stanza must be contemporaneous, and logically part of the same project, i.e., to collect and reshape work previously and independently composed into a presentation manuscript for Henry IV, one assumes not long after his coronation. Compare too with the controversial Latin explicit dedicating the Confessio Amantis to “Derbeie Comiti” (“the Count of Derby,” i.e., Henry Boling­broke) in F (Mac, 3:478; CA I.226) and similar manuscripts, seemingly also an attempt after the fact (whether in 1392 or 1400) to adapt earlier work to suit new and possibly urgent political circumstances.




JOHN GOWER, CINKANTE BALADES: TEXTUAL NOTES


Abbreviations: G: Glasgow, Glasgow University Library, MS Hunterian T.2.17; Mac: Macaulay, ed., The Complete Works of John Gower; S: Oxford, All Souls College, MS 98; MS: London, British Library, MS Additional 59495 (Trentham).

DEDICATION I

9–14 H. aquile pullus . . . non apponet nocere ei. Macaulay notes: “Owing to the loss of a part of the leaf (f. 12) on which the Latin occurs, the text of ll. 9–12 and of the first prose quotation which follows is imperfect. It runs thus:
. . . . . pullus quo nunquam gracior vllus
. . . . regit que tirannica colla subegit
. . . ile cepit oleum quo regna recepit
. . . ri iuncta stipiti noua stirps redit vncta.
. . il proficiet inimicus in eo et filius iniqui
. . . non apponet nocere ei.
The missing words are supplied from other copies of the same lines, which are found in a somewhat different arrangement in the All Souls’ and Glasgow MSS. of the ‘Vox Clamantis’ (the prose quota-tions in the latter only)” (Mac, 1:336).

14 faciat. So G. MS: faciet.

DEDICATION II

Macaulay notes: “The damage to f. 12 of the MS. has caused the loss of a part of this Balade and of the next” (Mac, 1:336).

26–28 Mac: “The ends of these lines are somewhat damaged and have been conjecturally restored.”

27 Court. MS: Courte.

CINKANTE BALADES

II L'IVERN S'EN VAIT ET L'ESTÉE VIENT FLORI

17 novelle. MS: noue[. . . ].

III D'ARDANT DESIR CELLE AMOROUSE PEIGNE

10 tielement. MS: tielment.

IIII* SANZ DEPARTIR J’AI TOUT MON COER ASSIS

1 Mac: “In the MS. this and the preceding Balade are both numbered IIII.”

VII DE FIN AMOUR C’EST LE DROIT ET NATURE

5 Pourceo. MS: Pouceo.

IX TROP TART A CEO QE JEO DESIRE ET PROIE

37 poestis. MS: poestes.

XI MES SENS FOREINS SE POURRONT BIEN MOVOIR

15 Jeo. MS: Iieo.

XIII AU MOIS DE MARSZ, U TANT Y AD MUANCE

8 al oill. MS: al loill.

XIIII POUR PENSER DE MA DAME SOVEREINE

2 En. MS: Een.

15 douls. MS: doules.

XIX OM SOLT DANTER LA BESTE PLUS SALVAGE

24 cage. MS: Cage.VII.

XXI AU SOLAIL, QE LES HERBES ESLUMINE

18 Trestout. MS: Terstout.

XXV MA DAME, SI CEO FUIST A VO PLESIR

4 m’ont. MS: mout (?).

XXX SI COM LA NIEF, QUANT LE FORT VENT TEMPESTE

5 Le Nief. MS: Perhaps rather “Le vent.”

12 Circes. MS: circes.

XXXII CEST AUN NOVELL JANUS, Q'AD DOUBLE FACE

5 nuisant. MS: nuisand.

9 siq’ au devant. MS: si siqau devant.

XXXVI POUR COMPARER CE JOLIF TEMPS DE MAII

14, 25 Nai. MS: nai.

XXXVII EL MOIS DE MAII LA PLUS JOIOUSE CHOSE

3 ruge. MS: Ruge.

19 refiere. MS: refiers.

XXXVIII SICOM LA FINE PIERE DAIAMAND

23 hostell. MS: hoste[. . .].

XLI DES FALS AMANTZ TANTZ SONT AU JOUR PRESENT

18 les sciet. MS: le sciet.

XLII SEMBLABLES SONT LA FORTUNE ET LES DÉES

12 constreignte. MS: constregnte.

XLIII PLUS TRICHEROUS QE JASON A MEDÉE

19 Partonopé. MS: par Tonope.

XLVIII AMOUR EST UNE CHOSE MERVEILOUSE

4 et. MS: e.

8 L’amier. MS: La mier.

11 Le halt. MS: La halt.

25 toutz. MS: touz.

XLIX AS BONS EST BON ET A LES MALS MALVOIS

19 ces. MS: cest.

LI AMOUR DE SOI EST BON EN TOUTE GUISE

15 celle. MS: ce[. . .].

Latin prose following text: Expliciunt carmina Iohannis Gower, que Gallice composita Balades dicuntur.


 
Print Copyright Info Purchase

Cinkante Balades

by: John Gower (Author), R. F. Yeager (Editor)
from: The French Balades  2011

[DEDICATION TO KING HENRY THE FOURTH]
 
[DEDICATION TO KING HENRY THE FOURTH]
 
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Pité, prouesse, humblesse, honour roial
Se sont en vous, mon liege seignour, mis
Du providence q’est celestial.
Noz coers dolentz par vous sont rejoïs;
Par vous, bons Roys, nous susmes enfranchis,
Q’ainçois sanz cause fuismes en servage:
Q’en dieu se fie, il ad bel avantage.

Qui tient du ciel le regne emperial
Et ad des Rois l’estat en terre assis,
Ceo q’il ad fait de vostre original
Sustiene ades contre vos anemis;
Dont vostre honour soit sauf guardé toutdis
De tiel conseil que soit et bon et sage:
Q’en dieu se fie, il ad bel avantage.

Vostre oratour et vostre humble vassal,
Vostre Gower, q’est trestout vos soubgitz,
Puisq’ore avetz receu le coronal,
Vous frai service autre que je ne fis,
Ore en balade, u sont les ditz floriz,
Ore en vertu, u l’alme ad son corage:
Q’en dieu se fie, il ad bel avantage.

O gentils Rois, ce que je vous escris
Ci ensuant ert de perfit langage,
Dont en latin ma sentence ai compris:
Q’en dieu se fie, il ad bel avantage.


[Latin verses following #1 above:]

O recolende, bone, pie Rex Henrice, patrone,
Ad bona dispone quos eripis a Pharaone;
Noxia depone, quibus est humus hec in agone,
Regni persone quo viuant sub racione;
Pacem compone, vires moderare corone,
Legibus impone frenum sine condicione,
     Firmaque sermone iura tenere mone.
Rex confiramtus licet vndique magnificatus,
H. aquile pullus, quo nunquam gracior vllus,
Hostes confregit que tirannica colla subegit:
H. aquile cepit oleum, quo regna recepit,
Sic veteri iuncta stipiti noua stirps redit vncta.
Nichil proficient inimicus in eo, et filius iniquitatis non apponet nocere ei.
Dominus conservet eum, et viuificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non
tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.


A vous, mon liege Seignour natural,
Henri le quarte, l’oure soit benoit
Qe dieu par vous de grace especial
Nous ad re . . . . . .
Ore est be . . . . . .
Ore est . . . . . . .
Par d . . . . . . .
. . . . . . .

C . . . . . . . .
D . . . . . . . .
O . . . . . . . .
O . . . . . . . .
P . . . . . . . .
V . . . . . . . .
A . . . . . . . .
Ca . . . . . . . .

Du . . . . . . . .
Ainz graunt . . . . .
Car tiel amour q’est . . .
Quant temps vendra joious louer reçoit:
Ensi le bon amour q’estre soloit
El temps jadis de nostre ancesserie,
Ore entre nous recomencer om doit
Sanz mal pensier d’ascune vileinie.

O noble Henri, puissant et seignural,
Si nous de vous joioms, c’est a b[on droit]:
Por desporter vo noble Court roia[l]
Jeo frai balade, et s’il a vous plerro[it],
Entre toutz autres joie m’en serroit:
Car en vous soul apres le dieu aïe
Gist moun confort, s’ascun me grieveroit.
Li Rois du ciel, monseignour, vous mercie.

Honour, valour, victoire et bon esploit,
Joie et saunté, puissance et seignurie,
Cil qui toutz biens as bones gentz envoit
Doignt de sa grace a vostre regalie.


[CINKANTE BALADES]

Si apres sont escrites en françois Cinkante balades, quelles . . . d fait, dont les
. . . ment desporter.

. . . . . . esperance
. . . . . . attens
. . . . . . –ance
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
[Mon coer remaint toutditz en vostre grace.]

. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . . gementz
. . . . . . –ssetz mon purpens:
Car qoi qu’om dist d’amer en autre place,
Sanz un soul point muer de toutz mes sens
Moun coer remaint toutditz en vostre grace.

Si dieus voldroit fin mettre a ma plesance,
Et terminer mes acomplissementz,
Solonc la foi et la continuance
Que j’ai gardé sanz faire eschangementz,
Lors en averai toutz mez esbatementz:
Mais por le temps, quoique fortune enbrace,
Entre lez biens du siecle et les tormentz
Mon coer remaint toutdits en vostre grace.

Par cest escrit, ma dame, a vous me rens:
Si remirer ne puiss vo bele face,
Tenetz ma foi, tenetz mes serementz;
Mon coer remaint toutditz en vostre grace.


L’ivern s’en vait et l’estée vient flori,
De froid en chald le temps se muera,
L’oisel, qu’ainçois avoit perdu soun ny,
Le renovelle, u q’il s’esjoiera:
De mes amours ensi le monde va,
Par tiel espoir je me conforte ades;
Et vous, ma dame, croietz bien cela,
Quant dolour vait, les joies vienont pres.

Ma doulce dame, ensi come jeo vous di,
Saver poetz coment moun coer esta,
Le quel vous serve et long temps ad servi,
Tant com jeo vive et toutditz servira:
Remembretz vous, ma dame, pour cela
Q’a moun voloir ne vous lerrai jammes;
Ensi com dieus le voet, ensi serra,
Quant dolour vait, les joies vienont pres.

Le jour qe j’ai de vous novelle oï,
Il m’est avis qe rien me grievera:
Porceo, ma chiere dame, jeo vous pri,
Par vo message, quant il vous plerra,
Mandetz a moi que bon vous semblera,
Du quoi moun coer se poet tenir en pes:
Et pensetz, dame, de ceo q’ai dit pieça,
Quant dolour vait, les joies vienont pres.

O noble dame, a vous ce lettre irra,
Et quant dieu plest, jeo vous verrai apres:
Par cest escrit il vous remembrera,
Quant dolour vait, les joies vienont pres.


D’ardant desir celle amorouse peigne
Mellé d’espoir me fait languir en joie;
Dont par dolçour sovent jeo me compleigne
Pour vous, ma dame, ensi com jeo soloie.
Mais quant jeo pense que vous serretz moie,
De sa justice amour moun coer enhorte,
En attendant que jeo me reconforte.

La renomée, dont j’ai l’oreile pleine,
De vo valour moun coer pensant envoie
Milfoitz le jour, u tielement me meine,
Q’il m’est avis que jeo vous sente et voie,
Plesante, sage, belle, simple et coie:
Si en devient ma joie ades plus forte,
En attendant que jeo me reconforte.

Por faire honour a dame si halteigne
A toutz les jours sanz departir me ploie;
Et si dieus voet que jeo le point atteigne
De mes amours, que jeo desire et proie,
Lors ai d’amour tout ceo q’avoir voldroie:
Mais pour le temps espoir moun coer supporte,
En attendant que jeo me reconforte.

A vous, ma dame, ensi come faire doie,
En lieu de moi ceo lettre vous apporte;
Q’en vous amer moun coer dist toute voie,
En attendant que jeo me reconforte.


D’entier voloir sanz jammes departir,
Ma belle, a vous, en qui j’ai m’esperance,
En droit amour moun coer s’ad fait unir
As toutz jours mais, pour faire vo plesance:
Jeo vous asseur par fine covenance,
Sur toutes autres neez en ceste vie
Vostre amant sui et vous serrez m’amie.

Jeo me doi bien a vous soul consentir
Et doner qanque j’ai de bienvuillance;
Car pleinement en vous l’en poet sentir
Bealté, bounté, valour et sufficaunce:
Croietz moi, dame, et tenetz ma fiaunce,
Qe par doulçour et bone compaignie
Vostre amant sui et vous serretz m’amie.

De pluis en pluis pour le tresgrant desir
Qe j’ai de vous me vient la remembrance
Q’en mon pensant me fait tant rejoïr,
Qe si le mond fuist tout en ma puissance,
Jeo ne querroie avoir autre alliance:
Tenetz certain qe ceo ne faldra mie,
Vostre amant sui et vous serretz m’amie.

Au flour des flours, u toute ma creance
D’amour remaint sanz nulle departie,
Ceo lettre envoie, et croi me sanz doubtance,
Vostre amant sui et vous serretz m’amie.


Sanz departir j’ai tout mon coer assis
U j’aim toutditz et toutdis amerai;
Sanz departir j’ai loialment promis
Por toi cherir tancome jeo viverai;
Sanz departir ceo qe jeo promis ai
Jeo vuill tenir a toi, ma debonaire;
Sanz departir tu es ma joie maire.

Sanz departir jeo t’ai, m’amie, pris,
Q’en tout le mond si bone jeo ne sai;
Sanz departir tu m’as auci compris
En tes liens, dont ton ami serrai;
Sanz departir tu m’as tout et jeo t’ai
En droit amour por ta plesance faire;
Sanz departir tu es ma joie maire.

Sanz departir l’amour qe j’ai empris
Jeo vuill garder, qe point ne mesprendray;
Sanz departir, come tes loials amis,
Mon tresdouls coer, ton honour guarderai;
Sanz departir a mon poair jeo frai
Des toutes partz ceo qe toi porra plaire;
Sanz departir tu es ma joie maire.

De coer parfit, certain, loial et vrai
Sanz departir en trestout mon affaire
Te vuil amer, car ore est a l’essai;
Sanz departir tu es ma joie maire.


Pour une soule avoir et rejoïr
Toutes les autres laisse a noun chaloir:
Jeo me doi bien a tiele consentir,
Et faire honour a trestout moun pooir,
Q’elle est tout humble a faire mon voloir:
Jeo sui tout soen et elle est toute moie,
Jeo l’ai et elle auci me voet avoir;
Pour tout le mond jeo ne la changeroie.

Qui si bone ad bien la devera cherir,
Q’a sa valour n’est riens qe poet valoir:
Jeo di pour moi, quant jeo la puiss sentir,
Il m’est avis qe jeo ne puiss doloir.
Elle est ma vie, elle est tout mon avoir,
Elle est m’amie, elle est toute ma joie,
Elle est tout mon confort matin et soir;
Pour tout le mond jeo ne la changeroie.

La destinée qe nous ad fait unir
Benoite soit; car sanz null decevoir
Je l’aime a tant com coer porra tenir,
Ceo prens tesmoign de dieu qui sciet le voir:
Si fuisse en paradis ceo beal manoir,
Autre desport de lui ja ne querroie;
C’est celle ove qui jeo pense a remanoir,
Pour tout le mond jeo ne la changeroie.

Ceste balade en gré pour recevoir,
Ove coer et corps par tout u qe jeo soie,
Envoie a celle u gist tout mon espoir:
Pour tout le mond jeo ne la changeroie.


La fame et la treshalte renomée
Du sens, beauté, manere et gentilesce,
Qe l’en m’ad dit sovent et recontée
De vous, ma noble dame, a grant leesce
M’ad trespercié l’oreille et est impresse
Dedeinz le coer, par quoi mon oill desire,
Vostre presence au fin qe jeo remire.

Si fortune ait ensi determinée,
Qe jeo porrai veoir vo grant noblesce,
Vo grant valour, dont tant bien sont parlée,
Lors en serra ma joie plus expresse:
Car pour service faire a vostre haltesse
J’ai grant voloir, par quoi mon oill desire,
Vostre presence au fin qe jeo remire.

Mais le penser plesant ymaginée,
Jesqes a tant qe jeo le lieu adesce,
U vous serretz, m’ad ensi adrescée,
Qe par souhaid Milfoitz le jour jeo lesse
Mon coer aler, q’a vous conter ne cesse
Le bon amour, par quoi moun oill desire,
Vostre presence au fin que jeo remire.

Sur toutes flours la flour, et la Princesse
De tout honour, et des toutz mals le Mire,
Pour vo bealté jeo languis en destresce,
Vostre presence au fin qe jeo remire.


De fin amour c’est le droit et nature,
Qe tant come pluis le corps soit eslongée,
Tant plus remaint le coer pres a toute hure,
Tanqu’il verra ceo qu’il ad desirée.
Pourceo sachetz, ma tresbelle honourée,
De vo paiis qe jeo desire l’estre,
Come cil qui tout vo chivaler voet estre.

De la fonteine ensi come l’eaue pure
Tressalt et buile et court aval le prée,
Ensi le coer de moi, jeo vous assure,
Pour vostre amour demeine sa pensée;
Et c’est toutdits sanz repos travailée,
De vo paiis que jeo desire l’estre,
Come cil qui tout vo chivaler voet estre.

Sicome l’ivern despuile la verdure
Du beal Jardin, tanque autresfoitz Estée
L’ait revestu, ensi de sa mesure
Moun coer languist, mais il s’est esperée
Q’ encore a vous vendrai joious et lée;
De vo paiis qe jeo desire l’estre,
Come cil qui tout vo chivaler voet estre.

Sur toutes belles la plus belle née,
Plus ne voldrai le Paradis terrestre,
Que jeo n’ai plus vostre presence amée,
Come cil qui tout vo chivaler voet estre.


D’estable coer, qui nullement se mue,
S’en ist ades et vole le penser
Assetz plus tost qe falcon de sa Mue;
Ses Eles sont souhaid et desirer,
En un moment il passera la mer
A vous, ma dame, u tient la droite voie,
En lieu de moi, tanque jeo vous revoie.

Si mon penser saveroit a sa venue
A vous, ma doulce dame, reconter
Ma volenté, et a sa revenue
Vostre plaisir a moi auci conter,
En tout le mond n’eust si bon Messager;
Car Centmillfoitz le jour jeo luy envoie
A vostre court, tanque jeo vous revoie.

Mais combien qu’il ne parle, il vous salue
Depar celui q’est tout le vostre entier,
Q’a vous servir j’ai fait ma retenue,
Come vostre amant et vostre Chivaler:
Le pensement qe j’ai de vous plener,
C’est soulement qe mon las coer convoie
En bon espoir, tanque jeo vous revoie.

Ceste balade a vous fait envoier
Mon coer, mon corps, ma sovereine joie:
Tenetz certein qe jeo vous vuill amer
En bon espoir, tanque jeo vous revoie.


Trop tart a ceo qe jeo desire et proie
Vient ma fortune au point, il m’est avis;
Mais nepourquant mon coer toutdis se ploie,
Parfit, verai, loial, entalentis
De vous veoir, qui sui tout vos amis
Si tresentier qe dire ne porroie:
Q’apres dieu et les saintz de Paradis
En vous remaint ma sovereine joie.

De mes deux oels ainçois qe jeo vous voie,
Millfoitz le jour mon coer y est tramis
En lieu de moi d’aler la droite voie
Pour visiter et vous et vo paiis:
Et tanqu’il s’est en vo presence mis,
Desir ades l’encoste et le convoie,
Com cil q’est tant de vostre amour suspris,
Qe nullement se poet partir en voie.

Descoverir a vous si jeo me doie,
En vous amer sui tielement ravys,
Q’au plus sovent mon sentement forsvoie,
Ne sai si chald ou froid, ou mors ou vifs
Ou halt ou bass, ou certains ou faillis,
Ou tempre ou tard, ou pres ou loings jeo soie:
Mais en pensant je sui tant esbaubis,
Q’il m’est avis sicom jeo songeroie.

Pour vous, ma dame, en peine m’esbanoie,
Jeo ris en plour et en santé languis,
Jeue en tristour et en seurté m’esfroie,
Ars en gelée et en chalour fremis,
D’amer puissant, d’amour povere et mendis,
Jeo sui tout vostre, et si vous fuissetz moie,
En tout le mond n’eust uns si rejoïs
De ses amours, sicom jeo lors serroie.

O tresgentile dame, simple et coie,
Des graces et des vertus replenis,
Lessetz venir merci, jeo vous supploie,
Et demorir, tanqu’il m’avera guaris;
Car sanz vous vivre ne suis poestis.
Tout sont en vous li bien qe jeo voldroie,
En vostre aguard ma fortune est assis,
Ceo qe vous plest de bon grée jeo l’otroie.

La flour des flours plus belle au droit devis,
Ceste compleignte a vous directe envoie:
Croietz moi, dame, ensi com jeo vous dis,
En vous remaint ma sovereine joie.


Mon tresdouls coer, mon coer avetz souleine,
Jeo n’en puiss autre, si jeo voir dirrai;
Q’en vous, ma dame, est toute grace pleine.
A bone houre est qe jeo vous aqueintai,
Maisqu’il vous pleust qe jeo vous amerai,
Au fin qe vo pité vers moi se plie,
Q’avoir porrai vostre ameisté complie.

Mais la fortune qui les amantz meine
Au plus sovent me met en grant esmai,
En si halt lieu qe jeo moun coer asseine,
Qe passe toutz les autres a l’essai:
Q’a mon avis n’est une qe jeo sai
Pareil a vous, par quoi moun coer s’allie,
Q’avoir porrai vostre ameisté complie.

S’amour me volt hoster de toute peine,
Et faire tant qe jeo m’esjoierai,
Vous estes mesmes celle sovereine,
Sanz qui jammais en ese viverai:
Et puis q’ensi moun coer doné vous ai,
Ne lerrai, dame, qe ne vous supplie,
Q’avoir porrai vostre ameisté complie.

A vo bealté semblable au Mois de Maii,
Qant le solail s’espant sur la florie,
Ceste balade escrite envoierai,
Q’avoir porrai vostre ameisté complie.


Mes sens foreins se pourront bien movoir,
Mais li coers maint en un soul point toutdis,
Et c’est, ma dame, en vous, pour dire voir,
A qui jeo vuill servir en faitz et ditz:
Car pour sercher le monde, a moun avis
Vous estes la plus belle et graciouse,
Si vous fuissetz un poi plus amerouse.

Soubtz ciel n’est uns, maisqu’il vous poet veoir,
Qu’il ne serroit tantost d’amer suspris;
Q’en la bealté qe dieus t’ad fait avoir
Sont les vertus si pleinement compris,
Qe riens y falt; dont l’en doit doner pris
A vous, ma doulce dame gloriouse,
Si vous fuissetz un poi plus amerouse.

Jeo sui del tout, ma dame, en vo pooir,
Come cil qui sui par droit amour soubgis
De noet et jour pour faire vo voloir,
Et dieus le sciet qe ceo n’est pas envis:
Par quoi jeo quiers vos graces et mercis;
Car par reson vous me serretz pitouse,
Si vous fuissetz un poi plus amerouse.

A vous, ma dame, envoie cest escris,
Qe trop perestes belle et dangerouse:
Meilour de vous om sciet en null paiis,
Si vous fuissetz un poi plus amerouse.


La dame a la Chalandre comparer
Porrai, la quelle en droit de sa nature
Desdeigne l’omme a tiel point reguarder,
Quant il serra de mort en aventure.
Et c’est le pis des griefs mals qe j’endure,
Vo tresgent corps, ma dame, quant jeo voie
Et le favour de vo reguard procure,
Danger ses oels destorne en autre voie.

Helas, quant pour le coer trestout entier,
Qe j’ai doné sanz point de forsfaiture,
Ne me deignetz en tant reguerdoner,
Q’avoir porrai la soule reguardure
De vous, q’avetz et l’oill et la feture
Dont jeo languis; car ce jeo me convoie,
Par devant vous quant jeo me plus assure,
Danger ses oels destorne en autre voie.

Si tresbeals oels sanz merci pour mirer
N’acorde pas, ma dame, a vo mesure:
De vo reguard hostetz pourceo danger,
Prenetz pité de vostre creature,
Monstrez moi l’oill de grace en sa figure,
Douls, vair, riant et plein de toute joie;
Car jesq’en cy, ou si jeo chante ou plure,
Danger ses oels destorne en autre voie.

En toute humilité sanz mesprisure
Jeo me compleigns, ensi come faire doie,
Q’a moi, qui sui del tout soubtz vostre cure,
Danger ses oels destorne en autre voie.


Au mois de Marsz, u tant y ad muance,
Puiss resembler les douls mals que j’endure:
Ore ai trové, ore ai perdu fiance,
Siq’en amer truis ma fortune dure;
Qu’elle est sanz point, sanz reule et sanz mesure,
N’ad pas egual le pois en sa balance,
Ore ai le coer en ease, ore en destance.

Qant jeo remire al oill sanz variance
La gentilesce et la doulce figure,
Le sens, l’onour, le port, la contenance
De ma tresnoble dame, en qui nature
Ad toutz biens mis, lors est ma joie pure,
Q’amour par sa tresdigne pourveance
M’ad fait amer u tant y ad plesance.

Mais quant me vient la droite sovenance,
Coment ma doulce dame est a dessure
En halt estat, et ma nounsuffisance
Compense a si tresnoble creature,
Lors en devient ma joie plus obscure
Par droit paour et par desesperance,
Qe lune quant eglips la desavance.

Pour vous, q’avetz ma vie en aventure,
Ceste balade ai fait en remembrance:
Si porte ades le jolif mal sanz cure,
Tanq’il vous plest de m’en faire allegance.


Pour penser de ma dame sovereine,
En qui tout bien sont plainement assis,
Qe riens y falt de ce dont corps humeine
Doit par reson avoir loenge et pris,
Lors sui d’amour si finement espris,
Dont maintenant m’estoet soeffrir la peine
Plus qe Paris ne soeffrist pour Heleine.

Tant plus de moi ma dame se desdeigne,
Come plus la prie; et si jeo mot ne dis,
Qe valt ce, lors qe jeo ma dolour meine
De ceo dont jeo ma dame n’ai requis?
Ensi de deux jeo sui tant entrepris,
Qe parler n’ose a dame si halteine,
Et si m’en tais, jeo voi la mort procheine.

Mais si pités, qui les douls coers enseine,
Pour moi ne parle et die son avis,
Et la fierté de son corage asseine,
Et plie au fin q’elle ait de moi mercis,
Jeo serrai mortz ou tant enmaladis,
Ne puiss faillir del un avoir estreine;
Ensi, ma doulce dame, a vous me pleigne.

Ceste balade a vous, ma dame, escris,
Q’a vous parler me falt du bouche aleine;
Par quoi soubtz vostre grace jeo languis,
Sanz vous avoir ne puiss ma joie pleine.


Com l’esperver qe vole par creance
Et de son las ne poet partir envoie,
De mes amours ensi par resemblance
Jeo sui liez, sique par nulle voie
Ne puiss aler, s’amour ne me convoie:
Vous m’avetz, dame, estrait de tiele Mue,
Combien qe vo presence ades ne voie,
Mon coer remaint, que point ne se remue.

Soubtz vo constreignte et soubtz vo governance
Amour m’ad dit qe jeo me supple et ploie,
Sicome foial doit faire a sa liegance,
Et plus d’assetz, si faire le porroie:
Pour ce, ma doulce dame, a vous m’otroie,
Car a ce point j’ai fait ma retenue,
Qe si le corps de moi fuist ore a Troie,
Mon coer remaint, qe point ne se remue.

Sicome le Mois de Maii les prées avance,
Q’est tout flori quant l’erbe se verdoie,
Ensi par vous revient ma contienance,
De vo bealté si penser jeo le doie:
Et si merci me volt vestir de joie
Pour la bounté qe vous avetz vestue,
En tiel espoir, ma dame, uque jeo soie,
Mon coer remaint, qe point ne se remue.

A vostre ymage est tout ceo qe jeo proie,
Quant ceste lettre a vous serra venue;
Q’a vous servir, come cil q’est vostre proie,
Mon coer remaint, qe point ne se remue.


Camelion est une beste fiere,
Qui vit tansoulement de l’air sanz plus;
Ensi pour dire en mesme la maniere,
De soul espoir qe j’ai d’amour conçuz
Sont mes pensers en vie sustenuz:
Mais par gouster de chose qe jeo sente,
Combien qe jeo le serche sus et jus,
Ne puiss de grace trover celle sente.

N’est pas ma sustenance assetz pleniere
De vein espoir qe m’ad ensi repuz;
Ainz en devient ma faim tant plus amiere
D’ardant desir qe m’est d’amour accruz:
De mon repast jeo sui ensi deçuz,
Q’ove voide main espoir ses douns presente,
Qe quant jeo quide meux estre au dessus
En halt estat, jeo fais plus grief descente

Quiqu’est devant, souhaid n’est pas derere
Au feste quelle espoir avera tenuz;
A volenté sanz fait est chamberere:
Tiels officers sont ainçois retenuz,
Par ceux jeo vive et vuill ceo qe ne puiss,
Ma fortune est contraire a mon entente;
Ensi morrai, si jeo merci ne truis,
Q’en vein espoir ascun profit n’avente.

A vous, en qui sont toutz bien contenuz,
Q’es flour des autres la plus excellente,
Ceste balade avoec centmil salutz
Envoie, dame, maisq’il vous talente.


Ne sai si de ma dame la durtée
Salvant l’estat d’amour jeo blamerai;
Bien sai qe par tresfine loialté
De tout mon coer la serve et serviray,
Mais le guardon, s’ascun deservi ai,
Ne sai coment, m’est toutdis eslongé:
Dont jeo ma dame point n’escuseray;
Tant meinz reprens, com plus l’averay doné.

A moun avis ceo n’est pas egalté,
Solonc reson si jeo le voir dirrai,
A doner tout, coer, corps et volenté,
Quant pour tout ceo reprendre ne porray
D’amour la meindre chose qe jeo sai.
Om dist, poi valt service q’est sanz fée;
Mais ja pour tant ma dame ne lerray,
Q’a lui servir m’ai tout abandoné.

Ma dame, qui sciet langage a plentée,
Rien me respont quant jeo la prierai;
Et s’ensi soit q’elle ait a moi parlée,
D’un mot soulein lors sa response orrai,
A basse vois tantost me dirra, “nay.”
C’est sur toutz autres ditz qe jeo plus hee;
Le mot est brief, mais qant vient a l’essay,
La sentence est de grant dolour parée.

Ceste balade a celle envoieray,
En qui riens falt fors soulement pitée:
Ne puis lesser, maisque jeo l’ameray,
Q’a sa merci jeo m’ai recomandé.


Les goutes d’eaue qe cheont menu
L’en voit sovent percer la dure piere;
Mais cest essample n’est pas avenu,
Semblablement qe jeo de ma priere
La tendre oraille de ma dame chiere
Percer porrai, ainz il m’est defendu:
Com plus la prie, et meinz m’ad entendu.

Tiel esperver crieis unqes ne fu,
Qe jeo ne crie plus en ma maniere
As toutz les foitz qe jeo voi temps et lu;
Et toutdis maint ma dame d’une chiere,
Assetz plus dure qe n’est la rochiere.
Ne sai dont jeo ma dame ai offendu;
Com plus la prie, et meinz m’ad entendu.

Le ciel amont de la justice dieu
Trespercerai, si jeo les seintz requiere;
Mais a ce point c’est ma dame abstenu,
Qe toutdis clot s’oraille a ma matiere.
Om perce ainçois du marbre la quarere,
Q’elle ait a ma requeste un mot rendu;
Com plus la prie, et meinz m’ad entendu.

La dieurté de ma dame est ensi fiere
Com Diamant, qe n’est de riens fendu:
Ceo lettre en ceo me serra messagiere;
Com plus la prie, et meinz m’ad entendu.


Om solt danter la beste plus salvage
Par les paroles dire soulement,
Et par parole changer le visage,
Et les semblances muer de la gent:
Mais jeo ne voie ascun experiment,
Qe de ma dame torne le corage;
Celle art n’est pas dessoubtz le firmament
Por atrapper un tiel oisel en cage.

Jeo parle et prie et serve et faitz hommage
De tout mon coer entier, mais nequedent
Ne puis troever d’amour celle avantage,
Dont ma tresdoulce dame ascunement
Me deigne un soul regard pitousement
Doner; mais plus qe Sibille le sage
S’estrange, ensi qe jeo ne sai coment
Pour atrapper un tiel oisel en cage.

Loigns de mon proeu et pres de mon damage,
Jeo trieus toutdis le fin du parlement;
Ne sai parler un mot de tiel estage,
Par quoi ma dame ne change son talent:
Sique jeo puiss veoir tout clierement
Qe ma parole est sanz vertu volage,
Et sanz exploit, sicom frivole au vent,
Pour atrapper un tiel oisel en cage.

Ma dame, en qui toute ma grace attent,
Vous m’avetz tant soubgit en vo servage,
Qe jeo n’ai sens, reson n’entendement,
Pour atrapper un tiel oisel en cage.


Fortune, om dist, de sa Roe vire ades;
A mon avis mais il n’est pas ensi,
Car as toutz jours la troeve d’un reles,
Qe jeo sai nulle variance en li,
Ainz est en mes deseases establi,
En bass me tient, q’a lever ne me lesse:
De mes amours est tout ceo qe jeo di,
Ma dolour monte et ma joie descresce.

Apres la guerre om voit venir la pes,
Apres l’ivern est l’estée beal flori,
Mais mon estat ne voi changer jammes,
Qe jeo d’amour porrai troever merci.
He, noble dame, pour quoi est il ensi?
Soubtz vostre main gist ma fortune oppresse,
Tanq’il vous plest qe jeo serrai guari,
Ma dolour monte et ma joie descresce.

Celle infortune dont Palamedes
Chaoit, fist tant q’Agamenon chosi
Fuist a l’empire: auci Diomedes,
Par ceo qe Troilus estoit guerpi,
De ses amours la fortune ad saisi,
Du fille au Calcas mesna sa leesce:
Mais endroit moi la fortune est faili,
Ma dolour monte et ma joie descresce.

Le coer entier avoec ceo lettre ci
Envoie a vous, ma dame et ma dieuesce:
Prenetz pité de mon trespovere cri,
Ma dolour monte et ma joie descresce.


Au solail, qe les herbes eslumine
Et fait florir, jeo fai comparisoun
De celle q’ad dessoubtz sa discipline
Mon coer, mon corps, mes sens et ma resoun
Par fin amour trestout a sa bandoun:
Si menerai par tant joiouse vie,
Et servirai de bon entencioun,
Sanz mal penser d’ascune vilenie.

Si femme porroit estre celestine
De char humeine a la creacion,
Jeo croi bien qe ma dame soit devine;
Q’elle ad le port et la condicion
De si tressainte conversacioun,
Si plein d’onour, si plein de courtoisie,
Q’a lui servir j’ai fait ma veneisoun,
Sanz mal penser d’ascune vilenie.

Une autre tiele belle et femeline,
Trestout le mond pour sercher enviroun,
Ne truist om, car elle ad de sa covine
Honte et paour pour guarder sa mesoun,
N’i laist entrer ascun amant feloun:
Dont sui joious, car jeo de ma partie
La vuill amer d’oneste affeccioun,
Sanz mal penser d’ascune vilenie.

Mirour d’onour, essample de bon noun,
En bealté chaste et as vertus amie,
Ma dame, jeo vous aime et autre noun,
Sanz mal penser d’ascune vilenie.


J’ai bien sovent oï parler d’amour,
Mais ja devant n’esprovai la nature
De son estat, mais ore au present jour
Jeo sui cheeuz de soudeine aventure
En la sotie, u jeo languis sanz cure,
Ne sai coment j’en puiss avoir socour:
Car ma fortune est en ce cas si dure,
Q’ore est ma vie en ris, ore est en plour.

Pour bien penser jeo truiss assetz vigour,
Mais quant jeo doi parler en ascune hure,
Le coer me falt de si tresgrant paour,
Q’il hoste et tolt la vois et la parlure;
Q’au peine lors si jeo ma regardure
Porrai tenir a veoir la doulçour
De celle en qui j’ai mis toute ma cure,
Q’ore est ma vie en ris, ore est en plour.

Quant puiss mirer la face et la colour
De ma tresdoulce dame et sa feture,
Pour regarder en si tresbeal mirour
Jeo sui ravi de joie oultre mesure:
Mais tost apres, quant sui soulein, jeo plure,
Ma joie ensi se melle de dolour,
Ne sai quant sui dessoubtz ne quant dessure,
Q’ore est ma vie en ris, ore est en plour.

A vous, tresbelle et bone creature,
Salvant toutdis l’estat de vostre honour,
Ceo lettre envoie: agardetz l’escripture,
Q’ore est ma vie en ris, ore est en plour.


Pour un regard au primere acqueintance,
Quant jeo la bealté de ma dame vi,
Du coer, du corps trestoute m’obeissance
Lui ai doné, tant sui d’amour ravi:
Du destre main jeo l’ai ma foi plevi,
Sur quoi ma dame ad resceu moun hommage,
Com son servant et son loial ami;
A bon houre est qe jeo vi celle ymage.

Par lui veoir sanz autre sustenance,
Mais qe danger ne me soit anemi,
Il m’est avis de toute ma creance
Q’as toutz les jours jeo viveroie ensi:
Et c’est tout voir qe jeo lui aime si,
Qe mieulx voldroie morir en son servage,
Qe vivere ailours mill auns loigntain de li:
A bone houre est qe jeo vi celle ymage.

De son consail ceo me dist esperance,
Qe quant ma dame averai long temps servi
Et fait son gré d’onour et de plesance,
Lors solonc ceo qe j’averai deservi
Le reguerdoun me serra de merci;
Q’elle est plus noble et franche de corage
Qe Maii, quant ad la terre tout flori:
A bon houre est qe jeo vi celle ymage.

Ceo dit envoie a vous, ma dame, en qui
La gentilesce et le treshalt parage
Se monstront, dont espoir m’ad rejoï:
A bon houre est qe jeo vi celle ymage.


Jeo quide qe ma dame de sa mein
M’ad deinz le coer escript son pro pre noun;
Car quant jeo puiss oïr le chapellein
Sa letanie dire et sa leçoun,
Jeo ne sai nomer autre, si le noun;
Car j’ai le coer de fin amour si plein,
Q’en lui gist toute ma devocioun:
Dieus doignt qe jeo ne prie pas en vein!

Pour penser les amours de temps longtein,
Com la priere de Pigmalion
Faisoit miracle, et l’image au darrein
De piere en char mua de s’oreisoun,
J’ai graunt espoir de la comparisoun
Qe par sovent prier serrai certein
De grace; et pour si noble reguerdoun
Dieus doignt qe jeo ne prie pas en vein!

Com cil qui songe et est en nouncertein,
Ainz semble a lui qu’il vait tout environ
Et fait et dit, ensi quant sui soulein,
A moi parlant jeo fais maint question,
Despute et puis responde a ma resoun,
Ne sai si jeo sui faie ou chose humein:
Tiel est d’amour ma contemplacion;
Dieus doignt qe jeo ne prie pas en vein!

A vous, qe m’avetz en subjeccion,
Soul apres dieu si m’estes soverein,
Envoie cette supplicacion:
Dieus doignt qe jeo ne prie pas en vein!


Ma dame, si ceo fuist a vo plesir,
Au plus sovent jeo vous visiteroie;
Mais le fals jangle et le tresfals conspir
De mesdisantz m’ont destorbé la voie,
Et vostre honour sur toute riens voldroie:
Par quoi, ma dame, en droit de ma partie
En lieu de moi mon coer a vous envoie;
Car qui bien aime ses amours tard oblie.

Ils sont assetz des tiels qui de mentir
Portont le clief pendant a lour curroie;
Du quoi, ma dame, jeo ne puiss sentir
Coment aler, ainçois me torne envoie:
Mais sache dieus, par tout uque jeo soie,
D’entier voloir sanz nulle departie
A vous me tiens, a vous mon coer se ploie;
Car qui bien aime ses amours tard oblie.

De vo presence a long temps abstenir
Grief m’est, en cas q’a force ensi feroie;
Et d’autrepart, si jeo voldrai venir,
Sanz vostre esgard ceo faire ne porroie:
Comandetz moi ceo qe jeo faire en doie,
Car vous avetz de moi la seignorie,
Tout est en vous, ma dolour et ma joie;
Car qui bien aime ses amours tard oblie.

As mesdisantz, dont bon amour s’esfroie,
De male langue dieus les motz maldie;
Q’en lour despit a vostre amour m’otroie;
Car qui bien aime ses amours tard oblie.


Salutz honour et toute reverence,
Com cil d’amour q’est tout vostre soubgit,
Ma dame, a vous et a vostre excellence
Envoie, s’il vous plest, d’umble espirit,
Pour fare a vous plesance, honour, profit:
De tout mon coer entier jeo le desire,
Selonc le corps combien qe j’ai petit,
Sanz autre doun le coer doit bien suffire.

Qui donne soi, c’est une experience
Qe l’autre bien ne serront escondit:
Si plein com dieus m’ad de sa providence
Fait et formé, si plein sanz contredit
Soul apres lui, ma dame, en fait et dit
Vous donne; et si Rois fuisse d’un Empire,
Tout est a vous: mais en amour perfit
Sanz autre doun le coer doit bien suffire.

Primer quant vi l’estat de vo presence,
En vous mirer me vint si grant delit,
Q’unqes depuiss d’ascune negligence
Mon coer pensant vostre bealté n’oublit:
Par quoi toutdis me croist celle appetit
De vous amer, plus qe ne porrai dire;
Et pour descrire amour en son droit plit,
Sanz autre doun le coer doit bien suffire.

A vous, ma dame, envoie ceste escript,
Ne sai si vo danger le voet despire;
Mais, si reson soit en ce cas eslit,
Sanz autre doun le coer doit bien suffire.


Ma dame, quant jeo vi vostre oill [vair et] riant,
Cupide m’ad ferru de tiele plaie
Parmi le coer d’un dart d’amour ardant,
Qe nulle medicine m’est verraie,
Si vous n’aidetz; mais certes jeo me paie,
Car soubtz la cure de si bone mein
Meulx vuil languir qe sanz vous estre sein.

Amour de sa constreignte est un tirant,
Mais sa banere quant merci desplaie,
Lors est il suef, courtois et confortant:
Ceo poet savoir qui la fortune essaie;
Mais combien qu’il sa grace me deslaie,
Ma dame, jeo me tiens a vous certein;
Mieulx vuill languir qe sanz vous estre sein.

Ensi ne tout guari ne languisant,
Ma dame, soubtz l’espoir de vo manaie
Je vive, et sui vos graces attendant.
Tanque merci ses oignementz attraie,
Et le destroit de ma dolour allaie:
Mais si guaris ne soie enquore au plein,
Mieulx vuill languir qe sanz vous estre sein.

Pour vous, q’avetz la bealté plus qe faie,
Ceo lettre ai fait sanz null penser vilein:
Parentre deus combien qe jeo m’esmaie,
Mieulx vuill languir qe sanz vous estre sein.


Dame, u est ore celle naturesce,
Qe soloit estre en vous tiel temps jeo vi,
Q’il ne vous plest de vostre gentilesce
Un soul salutz mander a vostre ami?
Ne quier de vous forsque le coer demi,
Et vous avetz le mien trestout entier:
Om voit sovent de petit poi doner.

Les vertus de franchise et de largesce
Jeo sai, ma dame, en vous sont establi;
Et vous savetz ma peine et ma destresce,
Dont par dolour jeo sui sempres faili
En le defalte soul de vo merci,
Q’il ne vous plest un mot a moi mander:
Om voit sovent de petit poi doner.

Tout qanque j’ai, ma dame, a vo noblesce
De coer et corps jeo l’ai doné parmi;
Par quoi ne vous desplese, en ma simplesce
De vostre amour si jeo demande ensi;
Car cil qui done il ad doun deservi,
Loial servant doit avoir son loer:
Om voit sovent de petit poi doner.

Ma doulce dame, qui m’avetz oubli,
Prenetz ceo dit de moi pour remembrer,
Et mandetz moi de vos beals ditz auci;
Q’om voit sovent de petit poi doner.


Par droite cause et par necessité,
Q’est sanz feintise honeste et resonable,
M’ai par un temps de vous, dame, eslongé,
Dont par reson jeo serroie excusable:
Mais fame, q’est par les paiis volable,
De vo corous me dist novelle ades;
Si m’ad apris, et jeo le croi sanz fable,
Q’est d’amour loigns est de desease pres.

Si vous, ma dame, scieussetz ma pensé,
Q’a vous servir remaint toutditz estable,
Ne serrai point sanz cause refusé:
Car jeo vous tiens si bone et merciable,
Qe jeo, q’a vous sui toutditz serviçable,
Et de mon grée ne vuill partir jammes,
Vo grace averai; et c’est tout veritable,
Q’est d’amour loigns est de desease pres.

Le fait de l’omme est en la volenté,
Car qui bien voet par droit est commendable;
Et pourcella, ma tresbelle honourée,
Hostetz corous et soietz amiable:
Si riens ai fait q’a vous n’est pas greable,
De vo merci m’en donetz un reles;
Q’ore a l’essai la chose est bien provable,
Q’est d’amour loigns est de desease pres.

Ma graciouse dame et honourable,
Ceste balade a vous pour sercher pes
Envoie; car jeo sui assetz creable,
Q’est d’amour loigns est de desease pres.


Si com la Nief, quant le fort vent tempeste,
Par halte mier se torne ci et la,
Ma dame, ensi moun coer maint en tempeste,
Quant le danger de vo parole orra;
Le Nief qe vostre bouche soufflera
Me fait sigler sur le peril de vie:
Q’est en danger, falt qu’il merci supplie.

Rois Uluxes, sicom nous dist la geste,
Vers son paiis de Troie qui sigla,
N’ot tiel paour du peril et moleste,
Quant les Sereines en la Mier passa,
Et le danger de Circes eschapa,
Qe le paour n’est plus de ma partie;
Q’est en danger, falt qu’il merci supplie.

Danger, qui tolt d’amour toute la feste,
Unqes un mot de confort ne sona;
Ainz plus cruel qe n’est la fiere beste,
Au point quant danger me respondera,
La chiere porte, et quant le nai dirra,
Plus que la mort m’estone celle oïe:
Q’ est en danger, falt qu’il merci supplie.

Vers vous, ma bone dame, horspris cella
Qe danger maint en vostre compainie,
Ceste balade en mon message irra:
Q’est en danger, falt qu’il merci supplie.


Ma belle dame, bone et graciouse,
Si pour bealté l’en doit amour doner,
La bealté, dame, avetz si plentevouse,
Qe vo bealté porra nulls coers passer,
Qe ne l’estoet par fine force amer,
Et obeïr d’amour la discipline
Par soulement vo bealté regarder:
Car bon amour a les vertus encline.

Et si bounté, q’est assetz vertuouse
De sa nature, amour porra causer,
Vous estes, dame, assetz plus bountevouse
Q’ascun amant le purra deviser:
Et ceo me fait vostre amour desirer
Secondement apres l’amour divine,
Pour chier tenir, servir et honourer;
Car bon amour a les vertus encline.

Et si la sort de grace est amourouse,
Lors porrai bien, ma dame, tesmoigner,
Vo grace entre la gent est si famouse,
Q’a quelle part qe jeo me vuil torner,
Jeo puiss oïr vo grace proclamer:
Toutz en parlont et diont lour covine,
L’om est benoit qui vous purroit happer;
Car bon amour a les vertus encline.

Ma dame, en qui sont trestout bien plener,
Tresfressche flour, honeste et femeline,
Ceste balade a vous fais envoier;
Car bon amour a les vertus encline.


Cest aun novell Janus, q’ad double face,
L’yvern passer et l’estée voit venant:
Comparison de moi si j’ensi face,
Contraire a luy mes oills sont regardant,
Je voi l’ivern venir froid et nuisant,
Et l’estée vait, ne sai sa revenue;
Q’amour me poignt et point ne me salue.

La cliere Estée, qui le solail embrace,
Devient obscure a moi, siq’ au devant
L’yvern me tolt d’amour toute la grace:
Dont par dolour jeo sui mat et pesant,
Ne sai jeuer, ne sai chanter par tant,
Ainz sui covert dessoubtz la triste Nue;
Q’amour me poignt et point ne me salue.

Vo bealté croist, q’a null temps se desface;
Pourceo, ma dame, a vous est acordant
Qe vo bounté se monstre en toute place:
Mais jeo, pour quoi qe sui tout vo servant,
Ne puis veoir de grace ascun semblant,
C’est une dure et forte retenue;
Q’amour me poignt et point ne me salue.


Au comencer del aun present novell
Mon corps ove tout le coer a bone estreine
Jeo done a vous, ma dame, sanz repell,
Pour le tenir sicom vostre demeine:
Ne sai conter les joies que jeo meine
De vous servir, et pour moi guardoner,
Si plus n’y soit, donetz le regarder.

Ne quier de vous avoir autre Juel
Fors soulement vostre ameisté certeine;
Guardetz vo Nouche, guardetz le vostre anel,
Vo beal semblant m’est joie sovereine,
Q’a mon avis toute autre chose est veine:
Et s’il vous plest, ma dame, sanz danger,
Si plus n’y soit, donetz le regarder.

L’en solt toutditz au feste de Noël
Reprendre joie et hoster toute peine
Et doner douns; mais jeo ne demande el,
De vo noblesce si noun q’il vois deigne
Doner a moi d’amour ascune enseigne,
Dont jeo porrai ma fortune esperer:
Si plus n’y soit, donetz le regarder.

A vous, ma doulce dame treshalteine,
Ceste balade vait pour desporter;
Et pour le bounté dont vous estes pleine,
Si plus n’y soit, donetz le regarder.


Saint Valentin l’amour et la nature
De toutz oiseals ad en governement;
Dont chascun d’eaux semblable a sa mesure
Une compaigne honeste a son talent
Eslist tout d’un acord et d’un assent:
Pour celle soule laist a covenir
Toutes les autres, car nature aprent,
U li coers est, le corps falt obeïr.

Ma doulce dame, ensi jeo vous assure
Qe jeo vous ai eslieu semblablement;
Sur toutes autres estes a dessure
De mon amour si tresentierement,
Qe riens y falt par quoi joiousement
De coer et corps jeo vous voldrai servir:
Car de reson c’est une experiment,
U li coers est, le corps falt obeïr.

Pour remembrer jadis celle aventure
De Alceone et Ceïx ensement,
Com dieus muoit en oisel lour figure,
Ma volenté serroit tout tielement,
Qe sanz envie et danger de la gent
Nous porroions ensemble par loisir
Voler tout francs en nostre esbatement:
U li coers est, le corps falt obeïr.

Ma belle oisel, vers qui mon pensement
S’en vole ades sanz null contretenir,
Pren cest escript, car jeo sai voirement,
U li coers est, let corps falt obeïr.


Saint Valentin plus qe null Emperour
Ad parlement et convocacion
Des toutz oiseals, qui vienont a son jour,
U la compaigne prent son compaignon
En droit amour; mais par comparison
D’ascune part ne puiss avoir la moie:
Qui soul remaint ne poet avoir grant joie.

Com la fenix souleine est au sojour
En Arabie celle regioun,
Ensi ma dame en droit de son amour
Souleine maint, ou si jeo vuill ou noun,
N’ad cure de ma supplicacion,
Sique d’amour ne sai troever la voie:
Qui soul remaint ne poet avoir grant joie.

O com nature est pleine de favour
A ceos oiseals q’ont lour eleccion!
O si jeo fuisse en droit de mon atour
En ceo soul cas de lour condicioun!
Plus poet nature qe ne poet resoun,
En mon estat tresbien le sente et voie:
Qui soul remaint ne poet avoir grant joie.

Chascun Tarcel gentil ad sa falcoun,
Mais j’ai faili de ceo q’avoir voldroie:
Ma dame, c’est le fin de mon chançoun,
Qui soul remaint ne poet avoir grant joie.


Pour comparer ce jolif temps de Maii,
Jeo le dirrai semblable a Paradis;
Car lors chantont et Merle et Papegai,
Les champs sont vert, les herbes sont floris,
Lors est nature dame du paiis;
Dont Venus poignt l’amant au tiel assai,
Q’encontre amour n’est qui poet dire Nai.

Qant tout ceo voi et qe jeo penserai
Coment nature ad tout le mond suspris,
Dont pour le temps se fait minote et gai,
Et jeo des autres sui soulein horpris,
Com cil qui sanz amie est vrais amis,
N’est pas mervaile lors si jeo m’esmai,
Q’encontre amour n’est qui poet dire Nai.

En lieu de Rose urtie cuillerai,
Dont mes chapeals ferrai par tiel devis,
Qe toute joie et confort jeo lerrai,
Si celle soule, en qui j’ai mon coer mis,
Selonc le point qe j’ai sovent requis,
Ne deigne alegger les griefs mals qe j’ai;
Q’encontre amour n’est qui poet dire Nai.

Pour pité querre et pourchacer mercis,
Va t’en, balade, u jeo t’envoierai;
Q’ore en certein jeo l’ai tresbien apris,
Q’encontre amour n’est qui poet dire Nai.


El Mois de Maii la plus joiouse chose
C’est fin amour, mais vous, ma dame chiere,
Prenetz a vous plustost la ruge Rose
Pour vo desport, et plus la faites chiere
Qe mon amour ove toute la priere
Qe vous ai fait maint jour y ad passé:
Vous estes franche et jeo sui fort lié.

Jeo voi toutplein des flours deinz vo parclose,
Privé de vous mais jeo sui mis derere,
N’y puiss entrer, qe l’entrée m’est forclose.
Jeo prens tesmoign de vostre chamberere,
Qe sciet et voit trestoute la matiere,
De si long temps qe jeo vous ai amé:
Vous estes franche et jeo sui fort lié.

Qant l’erbe croist et la flour se desclose,
Maii m’ad hosté de sa blanche banere,
Dont pense assetz plus qe jeo dire n’ose
De vous, ma dame, qui m’estes si fiere;
A vo merci car si jeo me refiere,
Vostre danger tantost m’ad deslaié:
Vous estes franche et jeo sui fort lié.

En le douls temps ma fortune est amiere,
Le Mois de Maii s’est en yvern mué,
L’urtie truis, si jeo la Rose quiere:
Vous estes franche et jeo sui fort lié.


Sicom la fine piere Daiamand
De sa nature attrait le ferr au soi,
Ma dame, ensi vo douls regard plesant
Par fine force attrait le coer de moi:
N’est pas en mon poair, qant jeo vous voi,
Qe ne vous aime oultre mesure ensi,
Qe j’ai pour vous toute autre chose oubli.

Soubtz ciel n’est oill, maisq’il vous soit voiant,
Qu’il n’ait le coer tantost deinz son recoi
Suspris de vostre amour et suspirant:
De tout le monde si jeo fuisse Roi,
Trop fuist petit, me semble en bone foi,
Pour vous amer, car jeo sui tant ravi,
Qe j’ai pour vous toute autre chose oubli.

Toutes vertus en vous sont apparant,
Qe nature poet doner de sa loi,
Et dieus vous ad doné le remenant
Des bones mours; par quoi tresbien le croi
Qe jeo ne puiss amer meilour de toi:
Vostre bealté m’ad tielement saisi,
Qe j’ai pour vous toute autre chose oubli.

D’omble esperit, sicom jeo faire doi,
U toute grace son hostell ad basti
Ceo lettre envoie ove si tresfin otroi,
Qe j’ai pour vous toute autre chose oubli.


En vous, ma doulce dame sovereine,
Pour remembrer et sercher les vertus,
Si bounté quier, et vous en estes pleine,
Si bealté quier, vous estes au dessus,
Si grace quier, vous avetz le surplus;
Qe riens y falt de ceo dont char humeine
Doit avoir pris, car c’est tresbien conuz,
Molt est benoit q’ove vous sa vie meine.

Qui vo persone en son corage asseine,
Trop ad dur coer s’il ne soit retenuz
Pour vous servir come a sa capiteine:
Pour moi le di, q’a ceo me sui renduz,
Et si vous ai de rien, dame, offenduz,
Vous me poetz sicom vostre demeine
Bien chastier; q’en vostre amour jeo trieus,
Molt est benoit q’ove vous sa vie meine.

N’est un soul jour de toute la semeine,
El quell deinz soi mon coer milfoitz et pluis
De vous ne pense: ascune foitz me pleigne,
Et c’est quant jeo sui loign; mais quant venuz
Sui en presence, uque vous ai veeuz,
Lors est sur tout ma joie plus certeine:
Ensi de vous ma reson ai concluz,
Molt est benoit q’ove vous sa vie meine.

Ma dame, en qui tout bien sont contenuz,
Ceo lettre envoie a vo noblesce halteine
Ove Mil et Mil et Mil et Mil salutz:
Molt est benoit q’ove vous sa vie meine.


Om dist, promesses ne sont pas estables;
Ceo piert en vous, ma dame, au tiele enseigne,
Qe les paroles avetz amiables,
Mais en vos faitz vous n’estes pas certeine.
Vous m’avetz fait com jadis fist Heleine,
Quant prist Paris et laissa Menelai;
Ne puiss hoster, maisque de vous me pleigne:
Loials amours se provont a l’essai.

Si vos promesses fuissent veritables,
Sur vo parole q’estoit primereine
Vous ne serretz, ma dame, si changables,
Pour lesser qe vous avetz en demeine
Et prendre ailours la chose q’est foreine.
Vous savetz bien, ma dame, et jeo le sai,
Selonc qe le proverbe nous enseine,
Loials amours se provont a l’essai.

Qant verité d’amour se tome en fables,
Et qe vergoigne pas ne le restreigne
Parmi les voies qe sont honourables,
N’est un vertu qe la fortune meine.
Vostre ameisté vers un n’est pas souleine,
Ainz est a deux: c’est un chaunçon verrai,
Dont chanterai sovent a basse aleine,
Loials amours se provont a l’essai.

A dieu, ma joie, a dieu, ma triste peine,
Ore est yvern, qe soloit estre Maii;
Ne sai pour quoi Cupide me desdeigne:
Loials amours se provont a l’essai.


Des fals amantz tantz sont au jour present,
Dont les amies porront bien doloir:
Cil qui plus jure et fait son serement
De bien amer, plus pense a decevoir.
Jeo sui de celles une, a dire voir,
Qui me compleigns d’amour et sa feintise;
Par quoi, de fals amantz pour peas avoir,
Bon est qe bone dame bien s’avise.

Ascuns y ad qui voet bien amer sent,
Et a chascune il fait bien assavoir
Qu’il l’aime sanz nulle autre soulement:
Par tiel engin destorne le savoir
De l’innocent, qe quide recevoir
De ses amours la loialté promise:
Mais pour guarder s’onour et son devoir,
Bon est qe bone dame bien s’avise.

Les lievres de la bouche q’ensi ment
Cil tricheour tant beal les sciet movoir,
Q’a peine est nulle qe parfitement
Sache en ceo point le mal aparcevoir:
Mais cil q’ensi d’amour son estovoir
Pourchace, ad bien deservi la Juise;
Si dis pource q’a tiel mal removoir
Bon est qe bone dame bien s’avise.

Tu q’es au matin un et autre au soir,
Ceste balade envoie a ta reprise,
Pour toi guerpir et mettre a nonchaloir:
Bon est qe bone dame bien s’avise.


Semblables sont la fortune et les dées
Au fals amant, quant il d’amour s’aqueinte;
Sa loialté pleine est des falsetés,
Plustost deçoit, quant il se fait plus queinte:
A toi le di, q’as trahi femme meinte,
Ceo q’as mespris restorer ne poetz,
Et pourcella, de ta falsine atteinte
Si tu voldras briser l’estrein, brisetz.

Trop tard conu m’est ceo qe fait avetz,
Qe m’as hosté de toi par tiele empeinte,
Qe jammais jour ne serrai retournetz
Pour obeïr n’a toi n’a ta constreignte.
He, fals amis, com ta parole est feinte!
Les viels promesses toutes sont quassetz,
Trop as en toi la gentilesce exteinte:
Si tu voldras briser l’estrein, brisetz.

O tu, mirour des mutabilitées,
Des fals amantz en toi l’image est peinte,
Tes sens se muent en subtilitées,
Sil q’ensi fait n’ad pas la vie seinte.
Tu as derrour la conscience enceinte,
Dont fraude et malengin sont engendrez;
Tu as vers moi ta loialté si freinte,
Si tu voldras briser l’estrein, brisetz.

En les malvois malice n’est restreignte,
Tu n’en serras de ta part escusez;
As toutz amantz jeo fais ceste compleignte:
Si tu voldras briser l’estrein, brisetz.


Plus tricherous qe Jason a Medée,
A Deianire ou q’Ercules estoit,
Plus q’Eneas, q’avoit Dido lessée,
Plus qe Theseüs, q’Adriagne amoit,
Ou Demephon, quant Phillis oublioit,
Je trieus, helas, q’amer jadis soloie:
Dont chanterai desore en mon endroit,
C’est ma dolour, qe fuist ainçois ma joie.

Unqes Ector, q’ama Pantasilée,
En tiele haste a Troie ne s’armoit,
Qe tu tout nud n’es deinz le lit couché,
Amis as toutes, quelqe venir doit,
Ne poet chaloir, mais q’une femne y soit;
Si es comun plus qe la halte voie.
Helas, qe la fortune me deçoit,
C’est ma dolour, qe fuist ainçois ma joie.

De Lancelot si fuissetz remembré,
Et de Tristrans, com il se contenoit,
Generides, Florent, Partonopé,
Chascun de ceaux sa loialté guardoit.
Mais tu, helas, q’est ceo qe te forsvoit
De moi, q’a toi jammais null jour falsoie?
Tu es a large et jeo sui en destroit,
C’est ma dolour, qe fuist ainçois ma joie.

Des toutz les mals tu q’es le plus maloit,
Ceste compleignte a ton oraille envoie;
Santé me laist et langour me reçoit,
C’est ma dolour, qe fuist ainçois ma joie.


Vailant, courtois, gentil et renomée,
Qe jeo resçoive et prens a grant leesce.
Vous m’avetz vostre corps et coer donné,
Qe jeo resçoive et prens a grant leesce.
Si jeo de Rome fuisse l’emperesse,
Vostre ameisté refuserai jeo mie,
Q’au tiel ami jeo vuill bien estre amie.

La halte fame qe l’en m’ad recontée
De vo valour et de vo grant prouesse
De joie m’ad l’oreille trespercée,
Et conforté le coer, siq’en destresce
Ne puiss languir, ainz de vo gentilesce
Pour remembrer sui des toutz mals guarie;
Q’au tiel ami jeo vuil bien estre amie.

Et puisq’il est ensi de verité,
Qe l’ameisté de vous vers moi se dresce,
Le coer de moi vers vous s’est adrescée
De bien amer par droite naturesce.
Tresdouls amis, tenetz ma foi expresse,
Ceo point d’acord tendrai toute ma vie,
Q’au tiel ami jeo vuill bien estre amie.

Par loialté, confort, chierté, tendresce,
Ceste ma lettre, quoique nulls en die,
Ove tout le coer envoie a vo noblesce;
Q’au tiel ami jeo vuill bien estre amie.


Ma dame, jeo vous doi bien comparer
Au cristall, qe les autres eslumine;
Car celle piere qui la poet toucher
De sa vertu reçoit sa medicine,
Si en devient plus preciouse et fine:
Ensi pour vo bounté considerer
Toutz les amantz se porront amender.

Vostre figure auci pour deviser,
La chiere avetz et belle et femeline,
Du quelle, qant jeo me puiss aviser,
Jeo sui constreint, ensi com de famine,
Pour vous amer de tiele discipline,
Dont m’est avis qe pour vous essampler
Toutz les amantz se porront amender.

El Cristall dame om porra bien noter
Deux propretés semblable a vo covine:
Le Cristall est de soi et blanc et clier;
Dieus et nature ensi par double line
Vous ont de l’un et l’autre fait saisine:
Par quoi des biens qe vous avetz pleiner
Toutz les amantz se porront amender.

Ceste balade, dame, a vous encline
Envoie pour vos graces commender:
De vostre essample et de vostre doctrine
Toutz les amantz se porront amender.


En resemblance d’aigle, qui surmonte
Toute autre oisel pour voler au dessure,
Tresdouls amis, vostre amour tant amonte
Sur toutz amantz, par quoi jeo vous assure
De bien amer, sauf toutdis la mesure
De mon honour, le quell jeo guarderai:
Si parler n’ose, ades jeo penserai.

Par les paiis la fame vole et conte
Coment prouesce est toute en vostre cure,
Et quant jeo puiss oïr si noble conte
De vo valour, jeo met toute ma cure,
A mon poair dont vostre honour procure:
Mais pour les gentz tresbien m’aviserai;
Si parler n’ose, ades jeo penserai.

Entre nous dames, quant mettons a la compte
Vo noble port et vo fiere estature,
Lors en deviens un poi rugge pour honte,
Mais jeo le torne ensi par envoisure,
Q’aparcevoir null poet la coverture:
Par tiel colour en joie jeo m’esmai;
Si parler n’ose, ades jeo penserai.

A vous, q’avetz d’onour celle aventure,
Qe vos valours toutz passont a l’essai,
Droitz est q’amour vous rende sa droiture:
Si parler n’ose, ades jeo penserai.


Li corps se tient par manger et par boire,
Et fin amour le coer fait sustenir,
Mais plus d’assetz est digne la memoire
De vrai amour, qui le sciet maintenir:
Pourceo, ma dame, a vous me vuill tenir,
De tiel amour qe ja ne falsera:
N’est pas oiceus sil qui bien amera.

Des tiels y ad qui sont d’amour en gloire,
Par quoi li coers se poet bien rejoïr;
Des tiels y ad qui sont en purgatoire,
Qe mieulx lour fuist assetz de mort morir;
Ascuns d’espoir ont pris le vein desir,
Dont sanz esploit l’amant souhaidera:
N’est pas oiceus sil qui bien amera.

De fin amour qui voet savoir l’istoire,
Il falt q’il sache et bien et mal suffrir;
Plus est divers qe l’en ne porra croire:
Et nepourquant ne m’en puiss abstenir,
Ainz me covient amer, servir, cherir
La belle en qui moun coer sojournera:
N’est pas oiceus sil qui bien amera.

Demi parti de joie et de suspir
Ceste balade a vous, ma dame, irra;
Q’en la santé d’amour m’estoet languir:
N’est pas oiceus sil qui bien amera.


Amour est une chose merveilouse,
Dont nulls porra savoir le droit certein;
Amour de soi est la foi tricherouse,
Qe plus promette et meinz apporte au mein;
Le riche est povere et le courtois vilein,
L’espine est molle et la rose est urtie:
En toutz errours amour se justefie.

L’amier est douls et la doulçour merdouse,
Labour est ease et le repos grievein,
Le doel plesant, la seurté perilouse,
Le halt est bass, si est le bass haltein,
Qant l’en mieulx quide avoir, tout est en vein,
Le ris en plour, le sens torne en folie
En toutz errours amour se justefie.

Amour est une voie dangerouse,
Le pres est loign, et loign remaint proschein;
Amour est chose odible et graciouse,
Orguil est humble et service est desdeign,
L’aignelle est fiere et le leon humein,
L’oue est en cage, la merle est forsbanie:
En toutz errours amour se justifie.

Ore est amour salvage, ore est soulein,
N’est qui d’amour poet dire la sotie;
Amour est serf, amour est soverein;
En toutz errours amour se justifie.


As bons est bon et a les mals malvois
Amour, qui des natures est regent;
Mais l’omme qui de reson ad le pois,
Cil par reson doit amer bonement:
Car qui deinz soi sanz mal penser comprent,
De bon amour la verité pleinere,
Lors est amour d’onour la droite miere.

Bon amour doit son dieu amer ainçois,
Qui son dieu aime il aime verraiment,
Si ad de trois amours le primer chois;
Et apres dieu il doit secondement
Amer son proesme a soi semblablement;
Car cil q’ensi voet guarder la maniere,
Lors est amour d’onour la droite miere.

Le tierce point dont amour ad la vois,
Amour en son endroit ceo nous aprent
Soubtz matrimoine de les seintes lois,
Par vie honeste et nonpas autrement.
En ces trois pointz gist tout l’experiment
De boun amour, et si j’ensi le quiere,
Lors est amour d’onour la droite miere.

De bon amour, pour prendre avisement,
Jeo vous ai dit la forme et la matiere;
Car quique voet amer honestement,
Lors est amour d’onour la droite miere.


De vrai honour est amour tout le chief,
Qui le corage et le memorial
Des bones mours fait guarder sanz meschief:
De l’averous il fait franc et loial,
Et de vilein courtois et liberal,
Et de couard plus fiers qe n’est leoun;
De l’envious il hoste tout le mal:
Amour s’acorde a nature et resoun.

Ceo q’ainz fuist aspre, amour le tempre suef,
Si fait du guerre pes, et est causal
Dont toute vie honeste ad soun relief.
Sibien les choses qe sont natural,
Com celles qe sont d’omme resonal,
Amour par tout sa jurediccioun
Claime a tenir, et par especial
Amour s’acorde a nature et resoun.

Au droit amant riens est pesant ne grief,
Dont conscience en soun judicial
Forsvoit, mais li malvois plus qe la Nief
Est en tempeste, et ad son governal
D’onour perdu; sique du pois egual
La fortune est et la condicioun
De l’omme, et sur tout le plus cordial
Amour s’acorde a nature et resoun.

N’est qui d’amour poet dire le final;
Mais en droit moi c’est la conclusioun,
Qui voet d’onour sercher l’original,
Amour s’acorde a nature et reson.


Amour de soi est bon en toute guise,
Si resoun le governe et justifie;
Mais autrement, s’il naist de fole emprise,
N’est pas amour, ainz serra dit sotie.
Avise soi chascuns de sa partie,
Car ma resoun de novell acqueintance
M’ad fait amer d’amour la plus cherie
Virgine et miere, en qui gist ma creance.

As toutes dames jeo doi moun servise
Abandoner par droite courtasie
Mais a ma dame pleine de franchise
Pour comparer n’est une en ceste vie.
Qui voet amer ne poet faillir d’amie,
Car perdurable amour sanz variance
Remaint en luy, com celle q’est florie
De bien, d’onour, de joie et de plesance.

De tout mon coer jeo l’aime et serve et prise,
Et amerai sanz nulle departie;
Par quoi j’espoir d’avoir ma rewardise,
Pour quelle jeo ma dame ades supplie:
C’est, qant mon corps lerra la compaignie
De m’alme, lors lui deigne en remembrance
D’amour doner a moi le pourpartie,
Dont puiss avoir le ciel en heritance.

O gentile Engleterre, a toi j’escrits,
Pour remembrer ta joie q’est novelle,
Qe te survient du noble Roi Henri,
Par qui dieus ad redrescé ta querele:
A dieu purceo prient et cil et celle,
Q’il de sa grace au fort Roi coroné
Doignt peas, honour, joie et prosperité.
Mercy, prowess, humility, regal honor
Belong to you, my liege lord, sent
By Providence that is celestial.
Our sorrowing hearts because of you are joyful;
Thanks to you, good King, we are set free,
Who before were in servitude without cause:
Whoso trusts in God, he has the best of it.

O you who hold from heaven imperial reign
And are appointed to the status of king on earth,
May He who did this from your origin
Sustain [you] continually against your enemies;
Wherefore may your honor be safeguarded always
By such counsel as may be good and wise:
Whoso trusts in God, he has the best of it.

He who prays for you and your humble vassal,
Your Gower, who is entirely your subject,
Since now you have received the crown,
I do you a service different from what I have done before,
Now in balade, where the flower is of poetry,
Now in virtue, where the soul has its heart:
Whoso trusts in God, he has the best of it.

Oh gentle King, this which I write for you —
What follows here uses polished language,
Whose message I have written in Latin:
Whoso trusts in God, he has the best of it.


[Latin verses following #1 above:]

O venerable, good, and pious King Henry, patron,
Set up for good things those whom you rescue from Pharaoh.
Remove from them what is harmful, for whom this land is in conflict,
So that the people of the realm may live under the rule of reason.
Establish peace, moderate the powers of the crown,
Bridle the laws unconditionally,
     Confirm rights by your command, admonish your people to keep them.
Although you are confirmed king and glorified on all sides
H[enry] son of the eagle, than whom no one is ever more graceful,
Has broken his enemies, and subjugated tyrannical necks.
H[enry] the eagle has captured the oil, by which he has received the rule of the realm,
Thus the new stock returns, anointed and joined to the old stem.
Let nothing adverse grow in him, and may the son of injustice not approach to
hurt him. May the Lord preserve him, and vivify him, and make him blessed
on earth, and surrender him not into the power of his enemies.


To you, my benevolent liege lord,
Henry the Fourth, the hour was blessed
When God through you by special grace
We to re . . . . . .
Now is be . . . . . .
Now is . . . . . . .
Through d . . . . . .
. . . . . .

C . . . . . . . .
D . . . . . . . .
O . . . . . . . .
O . . . . . . . .
P . . . . . . . .
V . . . . . . . .
A . . . . . . . .
Ca . . . . . . . .

Du . . . . . . . .
Thus great . . . . . .
Because such love that is . .
When the time comes receive joyous praise:
Thus the good love which existed
Long ago, in the former time of our ancestors,
Now, between us, let us begin again
Without thinking villainy of any.

O noble Henry, powerful and lordly,
If we rejoice in you, it is a h[appy duty]:
In order to entertain your noble Court roya[l]
I make a balade, and if it pleas[es] you,
Amid all others it will be a joy to me:
Because in you alone after the aid of God
Lies my comfort, should anyone harm me.
May the King of heaven, my lord, reward you.

Honor, valor, victory and good success,
Joy and health, power and lordship —
May He who sends all good to good people
Give of His grace to your reign.


[CINKANTE BALADES]

Here following are written in French fifty balades, which . . . d made, of
which . . . ment to disport.

. . . . . . hope
. . . . . . remain
. . . . . . .ance
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
[My heart remains always in your grace.]

. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . . groaning
. . . . . . my purpose well enough:
Because whatever one speaks about love elsewhere,
Without changing my feelings a single jot
My heart remains always in your grace.

If God wished to put an end to my happiness
And terminate all my activities,
In accord with the faith and the continuity
Which I have kept without alteration,
Then I shall have all of my pleasures:
But for the meantime, whatever Fortune may embrace,
Between the good things of the world and the torments
My heart remains always in your grace.

By means of this writing, my lady, I give myself to you:
If I am unable to look again upon your fair face,
My faith holds, my oaths hold;
My heart remains always in your grace.


The winter goes and the flowery summer comes,
From cold to hot the weather changes,
The bird, which had lost its nest,
Rebuilds it, where it will rejoice:
The world goes thus, matching my love —
With such hope I comfort myself continually;
And you, my lady, believe well that,
When sadness goes, joys come soon after.

My sweet lady, thus as I tell you,
You can know how my heart will be,
Which serves you and has served a long time,
And always will serve as long as I live:
Remember, my lady, because of this
Of my own will I shall never leave you;
Just as God wishes, so it will be,
When sadness goes, joys come soon after.

The day when I have heard news of you,
Nothing, it seems to me, will grieve me:
Therefore, my dear lady, I pray you,
By your messenger, when it may please you,
Send to me whatever you will,
So that my heart will be able to keep itself in peace:
And think, lady, about that which was said before,
When sadness goes, joys come soon after.

O noble lady, to you this letter will go,
And when God pleases, I shall see you afterwards.
By this writing you will remember:
When sadness goes, joys come soon after.


This loving punishment of burning desire
Mingled with hope sickens me with joy:
Thus from sweetness often I complain
On your account, my lady — just so am I accustomed.
But when I think that you will be mine,
My heart exhorts Love for its justice,
Awaiting the time when I shall be comforted.

The renown, of which my ears are full,
Of your worth transports my pensive heart
A thousand times a day, where it so guides me
That it seems to me that I feel and see you,
Pleasant, wise, beautiful, innocent and tranquil:
So thence always my joy becomes all the stronger,
Awaiting the time when I shall be comforted.

To do honor to a lady so superior
I exert myself every day, unswervingly;
And if God wishes that I attain the peak
Of my love, which I desire and pray for,
Then I’ll have from love all that I might wish to have.
But for the time, hope supports my heart,
Awaiting the time I shall be comforted.

For you, my lady, thus like this I must do —
In place of myself this letter I give you;
Herein my heart continually speaks love to you,
Awaiting the time I shall be comforted.


With a whole desire, unswervingly,
My beautiful one, for you, in whom I have my hope,
In true love my heart has united itself
Forevermore in order to do your pleasure;
I assure you by a perfect covenant,
Above all others born into this life
Your lover I am and you will be my beloved.

I must rightly be in agreement with you alone
And give whatever I have of good will;
Because in you one may sense amply
Beauty, bounty, virtue, and sufficiency:
Believe me, lady, and depend upon my assurance,
Because for sweetness and good company
Your lover I am and you will be my beloved.

More and more, on account of the very great desire
I have for you, memory comes to me,
Which, in my heart, makes me rejoice,
So that if the world were entirely in my power,
I would not seek to have another alliance:
Hold certain that this will not diminish a jot:
Your lover am I and you will be my beloved.

To the flower of flowers, where all my faith
Of love remains without any leave-taking,
Take this letter, and believe me without any doubt,
Your lover am I, and you will be my beloved.


Unswervingly I have taken you, my beloved,
Where I love always, and always will love;
Unswervingly I have loyally promised
To cherish you as long as I may live;
Unswervingly that which I have promised
I intend to hold to for you, my bountiful one:
Unswervingly you are my greatest joy.

Unswervingly I have prized you, my beloved,
In all the world I know none so good;
Unswervingly you have taken me so
In your bonds, and so I shall be your lover;
Unswervingly you have me wholly and I have you
In true love to do you pleasure;
Unswervingly you are my greatest joy.

Unswervingly the love I have undertaken
I wish to guard, I shall not at all take wrongfully;
Unswervingly, as your loyal lover,
My very sweet heart, I shall guard your honor;
Unswervingly to the best of my ability I shall do
In every way that which will be pleasing to you;
Unswervingly you are my greatest joy.

With perfect heart, certain, loyal and true
Unswervingly in all of my affairs
I intend to love you, because now is the trial;
Unswervingly you are my greatest joy.


In order to have and give joy to one alone,
Leave all the others without a second thought:
I myself must agree with that utterly,
And do honor with all of my power,
Because she is utterly humble to do my desire.
I am completely hers and she is all mine
I have her and she also wishes to have me;
For all the world I’ll not exchange her.

Whosoever has such goodness ought to cherish it well,
Because its worth is nothing that he can deserve:
I say for myself, when I am able to feel so,
It seems to me that I cannot feel pain.
She is my life, she is all my riches,
She is my beloved, she is all of my joy,
She is all my comfort morning and evening;
For all the world I’ll not exchange her.

The fate which has made us one
Be blessed! Because without any deceit
I love her as much as a heart can hold:
About that take witness from God who knows the truth.
If one might dwell in such a beautiful paradise,
Never would he long for other entertainment;
She it is with whom I think to remain,
For all the world I’ll not exchange her.

This balade receive in pleasure,
With one heart and body wholly wherever I may be —
I send it to her where lies my whole hope:
For all the world I’ll not exchange her.


The fame and highest renown
Of mind, beauty, manners and gentility,
That often have been described to me and recounted
About you, my noble lady, with great delight
Have pierced my ear and are impressed
Within my heart, for which reason my eye desires
That I may look on you in person forever.

If Fortune has so determined
That I may be able to see your great nobility,
Your great worth, of which such good is spoken,
Then my greatest joy will be realized:
Because to do service for your highness
I greatly wish, for which reason my eye desires
That I may look on you in person forever.

But that pleasant imagined thought,
Until whenever I reach the place
Where you may be, has directed me,
So that through desire a thousand times a day I allow
My heart to go, which does not cease to speak to you
Of my loyal love: for this reason my eye desires
That I may look on you in person forever.

Above all flowers the flower, and the Princess
Of all honor, and of all ills the Physician —
For your beauty I languish in distress,
That I may look on you in person forever.


Of fin amour it is the law and the nature,
That the more distant the body,
The heart at all times remains even further away,
Until it may see that which it has desired.
Therefore know, my very beautiful, honorable one,
I desire your country for my home,
As he who would be your knight completely.

Thus, as the pure water from the fountain
Leaps and bubbles and courses down the meadow,
Thus this heart of mine, I assure you,
For your love experiences its hope;
And it is always laboring without rest.
I desire your country for my home,
As he who would be your knight completely.

Just as the winter despoils the verdure
Of the beautiful garden, until eventually summer
Has reclothed it, thus in that degree
My heart languishes, but it is hopeful
That again it may come to you, joyous and glad;
I desire your country for my home,
As he who would be your knight completely.

Above all beauties the most beautiful born,
I would no longer desire paradise on earth,
If I no longer had your beloved presence,
As he who would be your knight completely.


From the committed heart, which changes not a jot,
At once the thought issues and flies
Much sooner than the falcon from his mew;
His wings are Delight and Desire:
In one moment he passes over the sea
To you, my lady, where he takes the straight path,
In place of me, until I see you again.

If my thought might know how to come
To you, my sweet lady, to tell
My will, and on its return
To relate your pleasure to me also,
Never in all the world would there be so good a messenger;
Because a hundred thousand times a day I send him
To your court, until I see you again.

But however much he speaks, he salutes you,
From him who is all yours entirely.
In order to serve you I have made my commitment,
As your lover and your knight:
The thought that I have wholly for you —
That alone guides my wretched heart
In good hope, until I see you again.

This balade I make to send to you,
My heart, my body, my sovereign joy:
Hold certain that I wish to love you
In good hope, until I see you again.


Altogether too late from her whom I desire and petition
Comes my reward, it seems to me;
But nevertheless my heart always yields itself,
Perfect, true, loyal, desirous
To see you, because I am entirely your friend,
So completely that I am unable to say:
Because after God and the saints of Paradise
In you remains my sovereign joy.

From my two eyes until I may see you,
A thousand times a day my heart sends itself
In my stead to travel the straight path
To visit both you and your country;
And until it sets itself in your presence,
Desire continually accompanies it and conveys it,
Like him who so greatly sighs for your love
That in no way is he able to depart.

Thus I must disclose myself to you —
By your love I am completely ravished,
You who most often lead my feelings astray,
So I know not hot or cold, or death or life,
High or low, or certainty or deception,
Or early or late, or how close or far I may be:
But in thought I am so confused,
That it seems to me just as if I were dreaming.

For you, my lady, in pain I take pleasure,
I laugh in tears and languish in good health,
Play in sadness and in surety am afraid,
Burn in frost and in heat shiver —
Powerful from love, from love poor and begging,
I am altogether yours, and if you were mine,
In all the world no one would rejoice
From his love, just as I would then.

O most gentle lady, simple and coy,
With graces and with virtue replete,
Let mercy come, I implore you,
And remain, until I have healed myself;
Because without you I lack the strength to live.
All the good things that I desire are in you,
In your care my fortune is placed:
Those things that you enjoy I guarantee through good service.

Flower, by right the most beautiful of flowers,
This complaint to you I send directly:
Believe me, lady, just as I tell you,
In you remains my sovereign joy.


My sweetest heart, my heart remains single-minded,
I am unable to have it otherwise, if I say truly;
In you, my lady, is every complete grace.
It will be a joyous moment when I shall love you,
Provided that it might please you that I love you,
That at last your pity may turn toward me,
So that I may have your full amity.

But that Fortune that leads lovers
All too often gives me great dismay,
Because of the high place where I dispose my heart,
Which surpasses all the others, at a throw:
In my opinion no one whom I know
Equals you — therefore my heart binds itself [to you],
So that I may have your full amity.

If Love wishes to remove me from all pain
And cause me to rejoice,
You yourself are that very sovereign,
Without whom I never may live in ease:
And since that thus I have given my heart to you,
Do not permit yourself, lady, not to bend,
So that I may have your full amity.

To your beauty resembling the month of May,
When the sun spreads itself over the flowers,
I shall send this written balade,
So that I may have your full amity.


My senses are able easily to move themselves far away,
But the heart remains in one place always,
And it is, my lady, in you, to say truly,
Whom I wish to serve in deed and word:
Because — though one might search the world — in my opinion
You are the most beautiful and gracious,
If only you showed a bit more affection.

Under heaven there is no one, were he to see you,
Who would not be seized by the greatest love;
Because in the beauty that God gave you
So completely are your virtues so fully realized,
That nothing is at fault; thus one should give honor
To you, my sweet, glorious lady,
If only you showed a bit more affection.

I am, my lady, completely in your power,
As the one who himself is subject to true love
Night and day, in order to do your wishes,
And God knows that it is not done reluctantly:
By this I seek your grace and mercy;
Because reasonably you would take pity upon me,
If only you showed a bit more affection.

These words, my lady, I send to you,
Who appear very beautiful and disdainful:
No one knows your like in any country —
If only you showed a bit more affection!


My lady I can compare to the plover,
She who according to her nature
Disdains to regard a man at that moment
When he will be overcome by death.
And it is the worst of the terrible hurt I endure,
[That] when I see your most beautiful person, my lady,
And the favor of your regard I procure,
Disdain turns your eyes in another direction.

Alas, when even my whole heart entire
I have given without any limit,
Nor thought myself worthy of any reward at all,
To be able to have a single look
From you, who have both the eye and the form
For which I languish; because when I steer myself
Into your presence, when I am most self-assured,
Disdain turns your eyes in another direction.

For eyes so very beautiful to look without mercy
Does not accord, my lady, with your temper:
From your regard therefore remove disdain,
Take pity on your creature,
Show me the eye of grace in your person,
Sweet, gray, laughing, and full of all joy;
Because so far, whether I sing or cry,
Disdain turns your eyes in another direction.

In all humility without offense
I lament, just as I ought to do,
When from me, who himself is totally under your control,
Disdain turns your eyes in another direction.


The month of March, where there is so much change,
May resemble the sad evils that I endure:
Now I have found, now I have lost assurance,
Since I find my fortune in love hard;
It is without end, without rule and without measure,
It lacks any balancing point:
Now the heart has ease, now discord.

When again I cast my eye without wavering upon
The gentility and the sweet person,
The sensibility, the honor, the carriage, the countenance
Of my most noble lady, to whom Nature
Has given all goodness, then is my joy pure,
That Love through its very dignified purveyance
Caused me to love where there is so much pleasance.

But when I come to the true remembrance
How my sweet lady is above
In high estate, and my insufficiency
Weighs upon that very noble creature,
Then my joy becomes very obscure
Through real fear and through loss of hope,
Just as the moon diminishes in an eclipse.

For you, who have my life at hazard,
I have made this balade in remembrance:
Thus I bear continually the happy evil without cure,
Until you might please to give me relief.


When I think about my sovereign lady,
In whom all good things are obviously present,
Who lacks nothing for which the human body
Ought by reason to have praise and honor,
Then I am by love so finely set afire,
Whereupon I must suffer pain
More than Paris ever suffered for Helen.

My lady disdains me all the more,
The more I entreat; and thus I say not a word,
Because what use is it, when I display my pain,
When I ask for that which my lady doesn’t have?
So between the two I am so greatly dismayed,
Who dares not speak to a lady so haughty,
And if I remain silent, I foresee death soon.

But if pity, which instructs the downcast heart,
Speaks not for me and gives his counsel,
And strikes pride from the heart,
And bends her at last to have mercy on me,
I shall die or become sick,
I cannot fail to have one fortune or the other;
Thus, my sweet lady, I complain to you.

This balade for you, my lady, I write,
Because I cannot breathe a word to you;
Because under your grace I languish,
Without you I cannot have my heart’s content.


Like the sparrow hawk that flies with a leash
And is unable to break loose from his cord,
So in just that fashion by my love
Am I bound, because in no way whatsoever
Is love capable, either to depart itself, or to carry me away:
You have me, lady, close in such a Cage,
That although you are not always present,
My heart remains, unable to tear itself away.

Under your constraint and under your governance
Love has told me that I should yield and submit,
Just as a vassal ought to perform his allegiance,
And copiously, if I am able to do it:
For that, my sweet lady, may you acquiesce to me,
Because now I have made my commitment,
Who, if my body were now in Troy,
My heart will remain, unable to tear itself away.

Just as the month of May propagates the meadows,
Which all flourish when the plants become green,
Just so you revive my countenance,
Whenever I think about your beauty:
Thus also mercy would deck me with joy,
For the bounty which you have donned.
In hope of that, my lady, wherever I may be,
My heart remains, unable to tear itself away.

All my prayers are to your image
When this letter shall come to you;
In order to serve you, like one that is your prey,
My heart remains, unable to tear itself away.


The chameleon is a wild beast
Who lives on air alone;
Thus, so to say, is my manner also:
By the sole hope for love that I have conceived
Are my thoughts in life sustained:
But by feeding on this food of the mind,
However much I seek it up and down,
I am unable to find a path of grace for myself.

My sustenance is insufficiently provided
By the vain hope which so thrusts me away;
Rather my hunger becomes the more bitter
Even as ardent desire causes me to love all the more:
About my meal I am thus deceived,
With what empty hand hope presents its gifts,
So that when I expect to be better at the end —
In high estate — I make a much sadder descent.

Whosoever is in the front, Desire is not behind
At the feast that Hope has set out;
Desire — easily, willingly — is the serving-maid:
Such sort of officers are retained,
Through them I live and wish for what I can’t achieve;
My fortune is contrary to my intent;
Thus I shall die, if I do not find mercy,
When some profit does not follow after vain hope.

To you, in whom are all good things contained,
Who is the most excellent flower of all,
This balade with a hundred thousand salutes
I send, lady, if only that it may please you.


I do not know if I blame the hardheartedness of my lady,
Defending the stature of love;
I know well that with exquisite loyalty
With all my heart I serve her and shall serve,
But the reward that I have deserved —
I do not know how — is always kept at a distance:
Therefore I do not excuse my lady at all;
The more I give, the greater is my rejection.

In my opinion that is not parity —
According to reason, if I may speak the truth —
To give all, heart, body and will,
Then for all that not to be able to get back
The least thing of love that I know.
Men say, poor is the service that is without reward;
But never for so much will my lady make allowance,
When in order to serve her I have abandoned myself.

My lady, who has a full command of language,
Makes no response to me when I entreat;
But thus it is, should she speak to me,
Then I hear her response in one word alone,
A worthless voice immediately will say to me, “No.”
It is the word above all others that I hate most;
The word is brief, but when it comes into use,
The sentence is draped with great sadness.

This balade to her I shall send,
In which nothing is wanting except pity:
I am unable to leave off from loving her;
Unto her mercy I recommend myself.


Little drops of water that fall
Often are able to pierce the hard stone;
But that case doesn’t come to pass
When likewise I, with my prayer,
The tender ear of my cheerful lady
Try to pierce: rather, I am prevented.
The more I pray, the less I am heeded.

No sparrow hawk ever was so loud in crying
That I, in my manner, do not cry more,
As often as I see time and place;
And always my lady maintains the same demeanor,
Altogether harder than rock.
I do not know whence I have offended my lady;
The more I pray, the less I am heeded.

The heaven of God the Judge above
I may pierce through, if I entreat the saints;
But upon this point my lady abstains,
Who always closes her ear to my argument.
One may pierce the marble stone-quarry but
She has returned a single word to my request;
The more I pray, the less I am heeded.

The hardness of my lady is as fierce
As diamond, which nothing splits:
This letter to her will be my messenger;
The more I pray, the less I am heeded.


Customarily one tames the most savage beast
Solely by speaking well-chosen words,
And by speaking the visage changes,
And transforms its looks to comely:
But I cannot see any device
That may turn the heart of my lady;
There is no art beneath the heavens
To trap such a bird in a cage.

I speak and pray and serve and do homage
With all my heart entire, but nevertheless
I am unable to find advantage in love
Because my very sweet lady disdains
To give me compassionately a single look
At all, but more than the sage Sibyl
Removes herself: thus I do not know how
To trap such a bird in a cage.

Far from my profit and near to my disadvantage,
Always I find the end of my conversation;
I do not know how to speak a word of that kind
By which my lady might change her inclination:
Thus I am able to see altogether clearly
That my speech is without power — worthless,
And without success, as if a trifle on the wind —
To trap such a bird in a cage.

My lady, in whom all of my grace belongs,
You have me so subject in your service,
That I have no sense, reason nor understanding,
To trap such a bird in a cage.


Fortune, they say, is always turning her wheel;
But in my opinion it is not so,
Because every day I seek release from it,
Yet I know no variance in place at all.
Thus it is established for my torment:
I remain at the bottom, from which I am not allowed to rise.
All that I speak is about my love;
My sadness rises and my joy descends.

After war one expects peace to come,
After winter is the beautiful foliage of spring;
But my state I am unable ever to change.
When I ought to find mercy from love,
Ah, noble lady, why is it thus?
Under your hand is my fortune oppressed;
Whenever you please I may be healed.
My sadness rises and my joy descends.

That misfortune that Palamedes
Endured was so that Agamemnon might be chosen
As the emperor: also Diomedes,
On account of whom Troilus was deserted —
Of his love Fortune had possession,
The daughter of Calchas rejoiced:
But in my case, Fortune is failing,
My sadness rises and my joy descends.

The whole heart with this letter here
I send you, my lady and my goddess:
Take pity on my most wretched cry,
My sadness rises and my joy descends.


To the sunshine that illumines the plants
And brings the flowers, I compare
That which has under its rule
My heart, my body, my sense and my reason.
Because of the pure love entirely in her absolute power —
By that I shall live a joyful life,
And serve with good intention,
Without bad thought of any vulgarity.

If a woman is able to be celestial —
Of human flesh, at her creation —
I believe well that my lady should be divine;
Because she has the carriage and the state,
With conversation so very holy,
So full of honor, so full of courtesy,
That to serve her I have made my endeavor,
Without bad thought of any wickedness.

Another so beautiful and feminine,
Even if one were to search throughout the whole world,
A man cannot find, because she has in her company
Pride and Shame to guard her house;
No felonious lover is allowed to enter:
Thus I am joyous, because I in my part
Wish to love her with honest affection,
Without bad thought of any deceit.

Mirror of honor, example of good name,
And beauty chaste and friend of virtue,
My lady, I love you and no other,
Without bad thought of any degradation.


I have often heard good things said about love,
But I never before experienced the nature
Of his estate; however, now at the present day
I am fallen suddenly by chance
Into the madness, wherein I languish without cure.
I know not how I may be able to have succor;
Because my fortune is in this case so hard,
Now my life is in laughter, now in tears.

I find enough strength to think good things,
But when at any hour I ought to speak,
My heart casts me into such a very great fear,
That takes away and removes voice and speech;
I have such pain, then, unless I my gaze
Am able to hold in sight of the sweetness
Of her in whom I have placed all of my care.
Now my life is in laughter, now in tears.

When I am able to admire the face and the color
Of my very sweet lady, and her features,
Gazing into so very beautiful a mirror
I am ravished with joy beyond measure:
But immediately afterwards, when I am alone, I weep.
My joy thus is mingled with sadness,
I do not know how much I am below and how much on high,
Now my life is in laughter, now in tears.

To you, most beautiful and good creature,
Saving always the estate of your honor,
I send this letter: regard the writing.
Now my life is in laughter, now in tears.


Thinking back on the first meeting
When I saw the beauty of my lady,
My service — of the heart, of the body — altogether —
To her I gave, so greatly was I ravished by love.
With my right hand I have pledged her my faithfulness,
Through which my lady has received my homage,
As her servant and her loyal friend:
It was a happy hour when I saw her face.

Just to look on her, without other sustenance,
Provided that Danger might not be an enemy to me,
I believe with full conviction
That I should live thus every day:
And it is altogether true that I love her so,
That I would rather die in her service,
Than to live elsewhere a thousand years away from her.
It was a happy hour when I saw her face.

Hope gives me this advice,
That when I shall have served my lady a long time
And done her honorable service and pleasure,
Then according to that which I shall have deserved
Mercy will be my reward;
For she is more noble and free of heart
Than May, when the earth is in flower:
It was a happy hour when I saw her face.

This poem I send to you, my lady, in whom
Gentility and noblest birth
Display themselves, wherefore I gladden myself with hope:
It was a happy hour when I saw her face.


I think that with her hand my lady
Has written her proper name inside my heart;
Because when I am able to hear the chaplain
Say his litany and his lesson,
I cannot pronounce another name, except hers;
Because I have a heart so full of pure love,
That all my devotion rests in her:
May God grant that I pray not in vain!

Calling to mind loves of long ago,
How the prayer of Pygmalion
Brought about a miracle, and the image at last
Transformed from stone to flesh by means of his prayer,
I have great hope of the comparison —
That through frequent prayer I may be certain
Of grace; and for so noble a reward
May God grant that I pray not in vain!

Like one who dreams and is in uncertainty —
First it seems to him that he goes all about
And acts and speaks — thus when I am alone,
Talking to myself, I form many a question,
I dispute, and then respond, with my reason;
I do not know if I am fay or a human creature:
Such is my contemplation of love;
May God grant that I pray not in vain!

To you, who have me in subjection —
Alone after God you are so much my sovereign —
I send this supplication:
May God grant that I pray not in vain!


My lady, if it might please you,
I would visit you more often;
But the false jangle and the too-false conspiracy
Of slanderers have disturbed my way,
And above all else I wish for your honor:
Therefore, my lady, as for my part,
In place of myself I send my heart to you;
Because he who loves well forgets his loves late.

There are enough of those who in order to deceive
Carry the key hanging from their belts;
For this reason, my lady, I am unable to know
How to go; rather, I turn myself away:
But God knows, fully, wherever I may be,
With complete desire without any parting
I hold firm to you, to you my heart itself inclines;
Because he who loves well forgets his loves late.

To abstain from your presence a long time —
It is painful to me, in case it must needs be done;
And on the other hand, should I want to come,
To do so without your counsel would be impossible:
Command me what I ought to do,
Because you have lordship over me.
All is in you, my sadness and my joy —
Because he who loves well forgets his loves late.

As for slanderers, of whom good Love is frightened,
May God curse the words from a wicked tongue;
In despite of them I give myself to your love;
Because he who loves well forgets his loves late.


Salutations, honor, and all reverence,
As one in love who is wholly your subject,
To you and to your excellence, my lady,
I send with a humble spirit, if you please,
To give you pleasure, honor, profit:
With all my whole heart I desire it.
Although I have but little besides my body,
Lacking another gift, the heart should well suffice.

If a man gives himself, it is a proof
That his other goods will not be refused:
As fully as God me by His providence
Made and formed, so fully without contradiction
Alone after to Him, my lady, in deed and word
I would give [it] to you; and if I might be a king of an empire,
All would be yours: but in perfect love
Lacking another gift, the heart should well suffice.

The first time when I saw the dignity of your presence,
To gaze on you gave me such great delight,
That ever since without any negligence
My heart, thinking about your beauty, forgets not:
Because always that appetite grows in me
For your love, more than I am able to say;
And to describe love in his true condition,
Lacking another gift, the heart should well suffice.

To you, my lady, I send this writing.
I do not know if your aversion to love may wish to despise it;
But if reason may be chosen in this case,
Lacking another gift, the heart should well suffice.


My lady, when I saw your eye blue-gray and laughing,
Cupid struck me such a wound
Through the heart with a burning dart of love,
That there is no true medicine for me
If you do not help; but certainly I am at peace,
Because under the care of your so estimable hand
I’d rather be sick than well without you.

Love in its compulsion is a tyrant,
But whenever its banner displays mercy,
Then is it gentle, courteous and comforting:
The one whom Fortune tests can know;
But as much as he dismisses his grace from me,
My lady, I bind myself to you certainly;
I’d rather be sick than well without you.

Thus neither entirely healed nor ill,
My lady, under hope of your care
I live, and I await your graces,
Until mercy may bring the ointments
And alleviate the difficulty of my sadness:
But if I may not heal again completely,
I’d rather be sick than well without you.

For you, who have more than a fairy beauty,
I have made this letter without any coarse thought:
As much as I am dismayed between the two,
I’d rather be sick than well without you.


Lady, where is now that gentle nature,
That many times I have seen to be customary in you,
That it does not please you from your gentility
To send a single greeting to your friend?
I seek from you but half a heart,
And you have all of mine entirely.
Often one sees little being given.

The virtues of liberality and largesse
I know, my lady, are established in you;
And you know my pain and my distress.
Thus I am always falling into sadness
In the lack alone of your mercy,
That it does not please you to send a word to me.
Often one sees little being given.

Everything that I have, my lady, to your nobility
Of heart and body I have given utterly;
May it not displease you, in my simplicity
If I thus make request of your love;
Because he who gives deserves a gift,
A loyal servant, should have his reward.
Often one sees little being given.

My sweet lady, who has forgotten me,
Receive this poem from me as remembrance,
And send me also a beautiful poem of yours —
To one who often one sees little being given.


For a just cause and by necessity,
That is without pretense honest and reasonable,
I have removed myself for a time from you, lady.
Therefore by reason I should be excusable;
But Rumor, that is ready to fly throughout the country,
Tells me news continually about your anger;
Thus have I learned, and I believe it without exaggeration,
Whoever is far away from love is near distress.

If you, my lady, knew my mind,
Which always remains stable to serve you,
I would not at all be refused without cause:
Because I hold you so good and merciful,
That I, who am unwaveringly in your service,
And wish never to part of my own free will,
Should have your grace; and it is entirely true,
Whoever is far away from love is near distress.

A man’s deed is in his will,
Because whoso wishes well by right is commendable;
And for that reason, my very beautiful, honored one,
Take away anger and be amiable:
If I have done nothing that is disagreeable to you,
Of your mercy give me a release;
For now in the trial is the thing well provable,
Whoever is far away from love is near distress.

My gracious lady and honor-worthy,
This balade to you in search of peace
I send; because I am sufficiently ready to believe
Whoever is far away from love is near distress.


Just as the ship, when the strong wind storms,
Turns itself here and there, because of the high seas,
Thus my heart remains in tempest, my lady,
When it hears the reluctance to love in your speech;
The ship that your mouth blows upon
Makes me navigate in peril of life:
Whosoever is in danger, he must beg for mercy.

King Ulysses, as the story tells us,
Who sailed back to his country from Troy,
Had no such fear of peril or molestation,
When he passed the Sirens in the sea,
And escaped the danger of Circe,
Because his fear is no more than on my part:
Whosoever is in danger, he must beg for mercy.

Danger, who from love strips all celebration,
Never utters a word of comfort;
On the contrary, a fierce beast is not more cruel.
At that moment whenever Danger responds to me,
He takes away the dear harbor, and whenever he says “No,”
That sound paralyzes me more than death:
Whosoever is in danger, he must beg for mercy.

To you, my good lady (unless
Danger remains in your company),
This balade will bear my message:
Whosoever is in danger, he must beg for mercy.


My beautiful lady, good and gracious,
If for beauty one ought to give love,
Then the beauty, lady, you have is so abundant,
That from your beauty no heart is able to escape,
But it must necessarily love completely,
And obey the discipline of love
Solely to look upon your beauty:
Because good love draws toward the virtues.

And if goodness, that is most virtuous
By its nature, can cause love —
And you are, lady, the most excellent
That any lover will be able to describe —
Then that makes me desire your love
Second only to the love divine,
To hold dear, to serve and honor;
Because good love inclines toward the virtues.

And if the lot of grace is love-worthy,
Then, my lady, I am well be able to bear witness,
That your grace is so famous among the people,
That wherever I want to turn,
I am able to hear your grace proclaimed:
Among themselves all in conversation, and talking.
That man is blessed who might be able to catch you:
Because good love inclines toward the virtues.

My lady, in whom completely are all good things,
Most fresh flower, honest and feminine,
I make this balade to send to you;
Because good love inclines toward the virtues.


It is a new Janus, who has a double face
To escape the winter and see the spring coming:
Thus a comparison I make to myself.
My eyes look contrarily to his,
I want the winter to come, cold and hurtful,
And the spring to go, and know no return;
Because love pierces me and saves me not at all.

The bright spring, which the sun embraces,
Becomes dark to me, since earlier
The winter took away from me all the grace of love:
Thus through grief I am dull and downcast,
I know no sport, in consequence, nor singing:
Instead I am roofed over beneath the sad cloud;
Because love pierces me and saves me not at all.

Your beauty grows, that time cannot efface;
Thus, my lady, for you it is appropriate
That your goodness displays itself everywhere:
But I, because I am entirely your servant,
Am unable to behold any semblance of grace;
It is a hard and difficult service,
Because love pierces me and saves me not at all.


At the beginning of the present new year
My body along with all my heart, with good wishes
I give to you, my lady, without recall,
To hold as if it were your demesne:
I know not how to count the joys that I pursue
In your service, and as a reward to me,
If nothing else, consider the gift.

I ask to have no other jewel from you
Except only your assured amity;
Keep your brooch, keep your ring,
Your beautiful appearance is sovereign joy to me,
In my view all other things are vain:
And if you please, my lady, without reluctance,
If nothing else, consider the gift.

One should always at Christmastime
Retain joy and reject all pain,
And give gifts; but I ask for nothing except,
Through your noblesse, that you deign
To give to me some sign of love,
From which I can hope for better fortune:
If nothing else, consider the gift.

To you, my sweet lady most high,
This balade is sent for entertainment:
And for the sake of the goodness of which you are full;
If nothing else, consider the gift.


St. Valentine the love and the nature
Of all the birds has in governance;
Wherefore each bird its like, in its degree,
A companion honest in its inclination
Selects, all of one accord and one assent:
For that one alone it gladly leaves
All the others: because Nature teaches
Where the heart is, the body must follow.

My sweet lady, thus I assure you
That I have chosen you similarly;
Above all the others you are on high —
So supremely sacred to my love
That nothing is wanting because joyfully
With heart and body I wish to serve you:
Because by reason it is proven,
Where the heart is, the body must follow.

Always keep in mind the fate,
Moreover, of Alceone and Ceix,
How God transformed their bodies into birds:
My desire would be altogether the same,
That without envy and interference from people
We would be able together at leisure
To fly wholly free for our diversion:
Where the heart is, the body must follow.

My beautiful bird, toward whom my thoughts
Fly themselves always, without any opposition,
Take this writing, because I know truthfully,
Where the heart is, the body must follow.


St. Valentine, greater than any emperor,
Holds a parliament and assembly
Of all the birds, who come on his day,
Where the female takes her mate
In proper love; but by comparison
Of such a thing I am unable to have my own part:
Whosoever remains alone is unable to have great joy.

As the phoenix is alone in its home
In the region of Arabia,
Just so my lady in the place of her love
Remains alone, where whether I wish it or not,
She has no care about my supplication,
Because I know not how to find the pathway of love:
Whosoever remains alone is unable to have great joy.

Oh how Nature is full of favor
To those birds who have their choice!
Oh if, instead of my state, I might be
In just that same situation of theirs!
Nature is more capable than reason is,
And in my state it senses very well the path:
Whosoever remains alone is unable to have great joy.

Each gentle tercel has her falcon,
But I am lacking what I want to have:
My lady, it is the end of my song,
Whosoever remains alone is unable to have great joy.


To liken the happy time of May,
I will call it similar to Paradise;
Because then the blackbird and the parrot sing,
The fields are green, the plants are in flower,
Then Nature is lady of the country;
Whereupon Venus pierces the lover so sharply —
He who encounters love is unable to say no.

When I see all that and I think about it,
How Nature has affected all the world with love,
Whence for the time it makes itself gracious and gay,
And I alone am excepted from the others,
As the one true lover who is without a beloved,
It is no wonder therefore if I upset myself:
He who encounters love is unable to say no.

In place of the Rose I cultivate nettles,
Wherefore I make my chaplets in such a manner
That I shall abandon all joy and comfort
If she alone, in whom I place my heart,
In accord with what I have often begged,
Deigns not to lighten the evil griefs that I have;
He who encounters love is unable to say no.

To ask for pity and to procure mercy,
Go, balade, where I shall send you;
Because now for certain I have learned,
He who encounters love is unable to say no.


In the month of May the most joyous thing
Is pure love, but you, my dear lady,
Take the red rose to yourself sooner
For your pleasure, and make it more welcome
Than my love, with all the entreaty
That I have made to you many a day:
You are free and I am tightly bound.

I see very plainly the flowers within your enclosure —
Open for you, but I am put back,
I am unable to enter it, because the entry is foreclosed to me.
I cling nevertheless to your chamberlain,
Who knows and sees all the matter,
For how long a time I have loved you:
You are free and I am tightly bound.

When the plant grows and the flower opens itself,
May has excluded me from her white banner,
Wherefore I think rather more what I dare not say
About you, my lady, who are so fierce to me;
Because if I make appeal to your mercy
Your Danger immediately would put me off:
You are free and I am tightly bound.

In the sweet times my fortune is bitter,
The month of May transforms itself into winter,
I find the nettle, if I ask for the Rose:
You are free and I am tightly bound.


Just as the pure lodestone
By its nature attracts the iron to itself,
So your sweet and pleasant appearance, my lady,
By pure force attracts my heart:
It is not in my power, when I see you,
Not to love you beyond measure so,
That for you I have forgotten all other things.

Under heaven there is no man’s eye but, should it look at you,
(Unless his heart forthwith is hidden away)
He will be seized by your love, and sigh:
If I might be king of all the world,
All would be worth little, it seems to me in good faith,
For want of your love, because I am so completely carried away,
That for you I have forgotten all other things.

In you all virtues are apparent
That Nature is able to give, according to her law,
And God has given you all the remaining
Good habits; for which reason I very well believe it,
That I am unable to love better than you:
Your beauty has seized me so,
That for you I have forgotten all other things.

With humble spirit, just as I ought to do,
Where all grace his home has built
This letter I send now with such complete surrender
That for you I have forgotten all other things.


To call you to mind, my sweet, sovereign lady,
And to make the rounds of your virtues —
I seek goodness, and you are fully of it,
I seek beauty, and you are on high,
I seek grace, and you have more than enough.
Because nothing is lacking for which human flesh
Ought to have honor — thus it is very well known,
He is greatly blessed who may lead his life with you.

Whoever addresses himself to your person in his heart,
Very hard is his heart who might hold himself back
From serving you as his captain;
I say for myself, I have surrendered myself to it,
And if I have offended you in anything, lady,
You are able to punish me well,
As your own, since in your love I find myself.
He is greatly blessed who may lead his life with you.

There is not a single day in the whole week
In which my heart might a thousand times and more
Not think on you: I complained sometimes,
But it is when I was far away. Yet when I came
Into your presence, where I saw you,
Then my joy is absolutely very certain:
Therefore for you I have reduced my reason to silence.
He is greatly blessed who leads his life with you.

My lady, in whom all good things are contained,
This letter I send to your high nobility
With a thousand and a thousand and a thousand and a thousand greetings:
He is greatly blessed who leads his life with you.


Promises are not stable, it is said;
That appears in you, my lady, from many a sign,
Because you have speech worthy of love
But in your deeds you are not reliable.
You have treated me as Helen once did,
When she took Paris and left Menelaus;
I am unable to refrain, but I complain to you:
Loyal lovers are proven at the test.

If your promises were reliable,
It would be in your speech first of all —
You would not be, my lady, so changeable,
As to leave what you have in your possession
And take elsewhere something foreign.
You know well, my lady, and I know it,
According as the proverb teaches us,
Loyal lovers are proven at the test.

When love’s truth transforms itself into fable,
And shame does not restrain it
Along paths that are honorable,
There is no power that may stay Fortune.
Your affection is not solely to one alone,
But rather to two: that is a true song,
That I shall sing often, softly —
Loyal lovers are proven at the test.

Good-bye, my joy, good-bye, my sorrowful pain,
Now it is winter, where once it was May;
I know not why Cupid disdains me:
Loyal lovers are proven at the test.


There are so many false lovers today —
Whose ladies can well grieve:
He who promises most and makes his sworn oath
Of virtuous love, he thinks more of deceiving.
I am one of those, to speak truth,
Who myself complain about love and his deceit;
Because, in order to have peace from a false lover,
It is good that a virtuous lady reflects carefully.

Anyone who wishes to love a hundred well,
To each one he makes it well known
That he will love her alone, without any other:
By such a device he turns aside the understanding
Of the innocent, who thinks to receive
The loyalty of his loves guaranteed:
But in order to guard her honor and her duty,
It is good that a virtuous lady reflects carefully.

The lips of the mouth that lies in such a way,
The deceiver well knows to move them gently —
Which is no trouble for one who perfectly
Understands in a moment to perceive the evil:
But he who his needs from love thus
Procures, he well deserves condemnation;
I speak thus because, to avoid such evil,
It is good that a virtuous lady reflects carefully.

You who are one person in the morning and another at night,
This balade I send for your reproach,
To renounce you and to send contempt:
It is good that a virtuous lady reflects carefully.


Fortune and dice are similar
To a false lover, when he is involved with love:
His loyalty is full of deceptions —
When he makes himself very agreeable, the sooner he deceives.
To you I say it, who have betrayed women very often,
That you have committed an offense you are unable to restore,
And for that, convicted by your falsehood,
If you wish to break the bond, break it.

I recognized too late what you had done —
Thus you have cut me off from yourself with such an assault,
That never, ever shall I turn again,
To be disposed either toward you or your constraints.
Ho, false friend, how your talk is false!
The vile promises all are shattered,
You have extinguished all the gentility in yourself:
If you wish to break the bond, break it.

Oh you, mirror of mutabilities,
In you is painted the image of false lovers;
Your thoughts transform themselves into subtleties.
He who does so has no holy life.
You have underhandedly made Conscience pregnant:
Therefore Fraud and Deceit are engendered.
You have broken your loyalty to me indeed —
If you wish to break the bond, break it.

Malice among the evil is not restrained;
You will not be excused for your part.
To all lovers I make this complaint.
If you wish to break the bond, break it.


More treacherous than Jason to Medea,
Or than Hercules was to Deianira,
More than Aeneas, who left Dido,
More than Theseus, who made love to Ariadne,
Or Demophon, when he forgot Phillis —
So I find him, alas, whom I was wont to love:
Thus henceforth for my part I shall sing,
It is my grief, that once was my joy.

Never did Hector, whom Penthesilea loved,
In such haste arm himself at Troy,
As you fully naked have lain down in bed —
You take every lover, whoever might come
It matters not at all, so long as it might be a woman;
Thus you are more common than the highway.
Alas, that Fortune has deceived me,
It is my grief, that once was my joy.

Let it be remembered thus about Lancelot,
And about Tristan, how he behaved himself,
Generides, Florent, Partonope —
Each of them maintained his loyalty.
But you, alas, what is that which led you astray
From me, who has never been false to you a single day?
You are at large and I am in dire straits,
It is my grief, that once was my joy.

Of all evil things you are the most wicked.
I send this complaint for your ear:
Health leaves me and sickness seizes me,
It is my grief, that once was my joy.


Valiant, courteous, honorable and renowned,
Loyal, true, unwavering in your promise,
You have given me your body and your heart,
Which I receive and accept with great delight.
If I were the empress of Rome,
Your friendship I would never refuse,
Because to such a friend I wish to be a good friend.

The high fame which has been recounted to me
About your valor and great prowess
Has pierced my ear through with joy,
And comforted the heart, which in distress
I was not able to let languish; but — by your worthiness
Remembered — I am healed of all sickness;
Because to such a friend I wish to be a good friend.

And since it is thus the truth,
That your friendship directs itself to me,
My heart addresses itself to you
With honorable love, by natural right.
Very sweet love, retain my expressed faith.
At this moment of accord I offer all of my life,
Because to such a friend I wish to be a good friend.

In loyalty, comfort, affection, tenderness,
Here is my letter, whatsoever any may say of it,
Now all my heart I send to your nobleness;
Because to such a friend I wish to be a good friend.


My lady, I well ought to compare you
To crystal, that illumines the others;
Because whatever is able to touch that stone
Through its power receives a cure,
So it becomes more precious and fine:
Thus by meditating on your goodness,
All lovers will be able to amend themselves.

To describe your appearance, as well:
You have a face both beautiful and feminine,
Of such a kind, when I consider it,
I am compelled, exactly as by famine,
To love you in such a manner,
In such a way that, with you as an example
All lovers will be able to amend themselves.

In the crystal, lady, one is able to note well
Two properties likenable to your disposition:
The crystal is in itself both white and clear;
God and Nature thus by a double lineage
Have of the one and the other given you possession:
Because by the good things that you have in full,
All lovers will be able to amend themselves.

This balade, lady, addressed to you,
I send to commend your graces:
By your example and by your teaching,
All lovers will be able to amend themselves.


In resemblance to the eagle, who surmounts
All other birds for flying up above,
Very sweet friend, your love so great mounts
Above all lovers, for which I assure you
Of true love, saving always the measure
Of my honor, which I shall protect:
If I dare not speak, I shall think unceasingly.

Throughout the land the story flies, and tells
How prowess is altogether your concern,
And when I am able to hear so noble a tale
About your valor, I put aside all my care,
With my power thus to obtain your honor:
But because of the people I take very great care;
If I dare not speak, I shall think unceasingly.

Between us ladies, when we take reckoning of
Your noble bearing and your fierce stature,
Then from that I become a little red with shame,
But I transform it then by jesting,
So that no one is able to recognize the pretense:
By such color with joy I frighten myself;
If I dare not speak, I shall think unceasingly.

To you, who with honor have such adventure,
That your valor surpasses all others at the trial,
Right it is that for love you render your just claim:
If I dare not speak, I shall think unceasingly.


The body maintains itself by eating and drinking,
And noble love sustains the heart,
But more worthy, by much, is the memory
Of true love, if a man knows to preserve it.
Because of that, my lady, I wish to be loyal to you,
To such love that I shall never falsify:
He is not lazy, whoever will love well.

Some there are in love’s glory,
For which the body is able to rejoice;
Some there are in purgatory,
Who would much rather die their deaths;
Some have seized upon the vain desire of hope,
For which the lover wishes without success:
He is not lazy, whoever will love well.

Whoever is able to know the history of noble love,
He must know to endure both the good and the bad;
It is so very diverse that he will not be able to believe it:
And nevertheless I myself am not able to abstain,
But I am obliged to love, to serve, to cherish
The beautiful one in whom my heart will dwell:
He is not lazy, whoever will love well.

Divided half in joy and in sighs
This balade to you, my lady, will go;
Because in the health of love I must languish:
He is not lazy, whoever will love well.


Love is a marvelous thing
Of which no one is able to know the true certainty;
Love itself is a treacherous faith,
That promises much and delivers less in the end;
The rich man is poor and the courteous is a boor,
The thorn is soft and the rose is a nettle:
In all errors love justifies itself.

The bitter is sweet and sweetness foul,
Labor is ease and repose work,
Grief pleasant, security perilous,
The high is low, just as the low is high,
When one expects to have better, everything is in vain,
Laughter in tears, the sense turns to folly
In all errors love justifies itself.

Love is a dangerous path,
The near is far, and far away remains near;
Love is a thing hateful and gracious,
Pride is humble and service is disdain,
The lamb is fierce and the lion tolerant,
The goose is caged, the blackbird is ousted:
In all errors love justifies itself.

Now love is savage, now is it lonesome,
There is no one who is able to describe the folly of love:
Love is a serf, love is a sovereign;
In all errors love justifies itself.


Good to the good and to the evil, evil
Is Love, who is ruler of all natures;
But the man who has a measure of reason,
He, on account of that reason, should love willingly:
Because when a man serves without evil within himself he understands
Fully the truth about right love:
Then Love is the rightful mother to Honor.

Good Love should love his God first:
Whoever loves his God, he loves in truth:
Thus He has the first choice of three loves.
And, after God, one should secondly
Love his neighbor as himself;
Because if he is thus able to maintain this manner,
Then Love is the rightful mother to Honor.

The third point of which Love has the title —
This Love in his way teaches us
Under the holy law of matrimony,
By honest life and not any other.
In these three points lies all the experience
Of good love, and if I seek after it thus,
Then Love is the rightful mother to Honor.

Of proper love, for consideration,
I have told you the form and the matter;
Because for whoever wishes to love honestly,
Then Love is the rightful mother to Honor.


Of true honor wholly the chief is Love,
Who keeps the spirit and the memory
Of good morals safe from misfortune:
He makes the avaricious free and loyal,
And the boor courteous and liberal,
And the coward more fierce than the lion;
He drives away evil from the envious:
Love accords himself with Nature and Reason.

That which once was bitter, Love makes gentle,
Just so he makes peace of war, and is the cause
By which all honest life has his help.
Both to the things that are natural,
And to those that are rational to man,
Love throughout his jurisdiction
Holds claim and, in particular,
Love accords himself with Nature and Reason.

To a proper lover nothing is burdensome or grievous,
When conscience in his judgment
Goes astray; but a wicked one, more than any ship,
Is tempest-tossed, and loses his rudder
Of honor. Thus of equal weights
Are Fortune and the condition
Of man — and of his heart most, above all,
Love accords himself with Nature and Reason.

There is no one who is able to recount the end of love;
But for my part, this is the conclusion:
Whoever wishes to discover the origin of Honor,
Love accords himself with Nature and Reason.


Love in itself is good in every guise,
If reason governs and justifies it;
But otherwise, it is but a foolish enterprise,
It is not love, but will be called madness.
Let each one for his part deliberate for himself,
Because my reason through new friendship
Has made me love one most cherished by love —
Virgin and mother, in whom lies my belief.

I ought my service to all ladies
Abandon, by rightful courtesy,
Except to my Lady full of liberality —
There is no one comparable in this life.
Whoever desires love cannot fall short with this ladylove,
Because lasting love without variance
Abides in Her, as the one who is adorned
With goodness, honor, joy and pleasure.

With all my heart I love Her, and serve and praise,
And I shall love without cessation;
Because I hope to have my reward
For which I have asked my Lady unceasingly:
It is, when my body parts company
From my soul, then She may deign, remembering
My love, to give to me a share,
So that I shall be able to have heaven as inheritance.

Oh gentle England, I write for you,
For remembrance of your new joy,
Which comes to you from the noble King Henry,
By whom God has redressed your quarrel:
Let one and all therefore pray to God,
That He who with His grace crowned the King indeed
May give peace, honor, joy and prosperity.
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Go To Appendix 1: A Translation of the Traitié (Quixley)