Back to top

Art. 24a, Charnel amour est folie: Introduction

ABBREVIATIONS: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; ANL: Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (R. Dean and Boulton); BL: British Library (London); Bodl.: Bodleian Library (Oxford); CCC: Corpus Christi College (Cambridge); CUL: Cambridge University Library (Cambridge); IMEV: The Index of Middle English Verse (Brown and Robbins); IMEV Suppl.: Supplement to the Index of Middle English Verse (Robbins and Cutler); MED: Middle English Dictionary; MWME: A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050–1500 (Severs et al.); NIMEV: A New Index of Middle English Verse (Boffey and Edwards); NLS: National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh).

In the sequence of arts. 24a, 24a*, and 24b, the scribe creates a trilingual meditation on “dust to dust,” which falls between laments for the heroically ill-fated traitors Simon de Montfort and Simon Fraser. Carnal Love Is Folly, consisting of a single stanza in Anglo-Norman, is yoked with a Latin tag (art. 24a*) and then followed by the English riddle-poem Earth upon Earth (art. 24b). Only the last item was recorded by Wanley (2:586), and he did not see it as separate from art. 24. Variants of this French moralization appear as the second stanza of a longer poem:
Charnel amur est folie: ke vuet amer sagement
Eschue, kar brieve vie ne let durer lungement.
Ja tant la char n’ert florie, ke a puriture ne descent;
E bref delit est lecherie, mes sans fin dure le turment! (Cuard est, MS Douce 137, fol. 111r)
For commentary on its presence in MS Harley 2253, see Turville-Petre 1996, p. 199; Kuczynski 2000, p. 143–44; Fein 2007, p. 78; and Revard 2007, p. 110.

[Fol. 59v. ANL 913. Scribe: B (Ludlow scribe). Quire: 6. Meter: Eight heptasyllabic lines in alternating rhyme, abababab. Layout: No columns, written two lines per manuscript line; matched paraphs for this item and Earth upon Earth. Edition: Dove 1969, p. 295. Other MSS: None, but for the variant stanza in Cuard est, see ANL 913 and these editions: Jeffrey and Levy, pp. 268–71 (no. 52) (Oxford, Bodl. MS Douce 137, fol. 111r); Dove 1969, p. 296 (Herebert MS [London, BL, MS Add. MS 46919], fol. 74v). Translations: None.]

Go To Art. 24a, Charnel amour est folie