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Art. 26, Enseignement sur les amis


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).

16 sa. “Her.” In this translation the beloved one is gendered feminine. The speaker seems to be a man giving advice to other men. Kennedy uses masculine gender for the beloved, a choice that paints the topic as more generally about friendship than about romantic love, or else as advice to women.

17 Si toun ami as esprové. Kennedy notes how “the poet alternates second person plural and singular without apparent purpose. In reference to the lovers as a couple, he always uses the plural; but in speaking to the individual lover, that is, the reader, he uses both forms: ‘toun ami’ (17), ‘ton consail’ (30), ‘vostre . . . ami’ (33), ‘vostre consail’ (37), etc.” (p. 16).

65 fyn amour. Here and in line 108 the poet uses a term frequently used by Provençal and French poets to refer to refined secular love.

97 pas. According to Kennedy, “this word has the double meaning of 1) the literal passages in the poem and 2) the figurative steps or way of practice of ‘fyn amour.’ It is the second sense which leads into the next stanza with its reference to the ‘droite voie’” (p. 22). See also the explanatory note to line 107.

107 prenge le travers. According to Kennedy, this phrase “has both the literal meaning of ‘take a short-cut’ . . . and the figurative meaning of ‘take amiss,’ or ‘take something wrong.’ Thus it relates to both meanings of pas (97)” (p. 23). See the explanatory note to line 97.

111 “Tu autem”. The Latin phrase ends the poem with an imitation of liturgical ritual. A common way to close a prayer from the pulpit is “Tu autem, Domine, miserere nobis” (But thou, O Lord, have mercy on us). The poet-cum-preacher concludes the Lesson for True Lovers by asking for a “respounz” (a liturgical term) from the audience. Kennedy suggests an alternate meaning, believing that the phrase alludes to Matthew 6:6, where Christ instructs believers to pray the Pasternoster in private: “Tu autem cum oraveris, intra in cubiculum tuum, et clauso ostio, ora Patrem tuum in abscondito” (But thou, when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret: [and thy Father, who seeth in secret, will reward thee]). According to Kennedy, “the full quote suggests the courtly convention of secrecy” (p. 23).


ABBREVIATIONS: As: Aspin; Bö: Böddeker; Bos: Bossy; Br: Brook; BS: Bennett and Smithers; BZ: Brandl and Zippel; B13: Brown 1932; B14: Brown 1952; DB: Dunn and Byrnes; Deg: Degginger; Do: Dove 1969; Gr: Greene 1977; Ha: Halliwell; Hal: Hall; Hol: Holthausen; Hor1: Horstmann 1878; Hor2: Horstmann 1896; Hu: Hulme; JL: Jeffrey and Levy; Ju: Jubinal; Kel: Keller; Ken: Kennedy; Le: Lerer 2008; Mc: McKnight; Mi: Millett; MR: Michelant and Raynaud; Mo: Morris and Skeat; MS: MS Harley 2253; Mu: H. M. R. Murray; Pa: Patterson; Pr: Pringle 2009; Rei: Reichl 1973; Rev1: Revard 2004; Rev2: Revard 2005b; Ri1: Ritson 1877; Ri2: Ritson 1885; Ro: Robbins 1959; Sa: Saupe; Si: Silverstein; St: Stemmler 1970; Tr: Treharne; Tu: Turville-Petre 1989; Ul: Ulrich; W1: Wright 1839; W2: Wright 1841; W3: Wright 1842; W4: Wright 1844; WH: Wright and Halliwell.

68 n’ert. So MS, Ken. W3: n’est.

69 dolour. So MS, W3. Ken: doulour.

78 puet. So MS, Ken. W3: peut.

106 chaut qe l’oye. So MS, Ken. W3: chant qe loye.

112 respounz. So MS W3. Ken: repounz.

























¶ Cyl qe vodra oyr mes chauns,
    En soun cuer se remyre:
Si il, en fet ou en semblauns,
    Rien touche a la matire
De un chaunçon en romauns
    Ou la en orrez descrire
La lessoun a leals amantz,
    Vous y comencez a lyre!

Meint honme quide aver ami
    Conquis en sa richesse,
Q’assez tost le avera gerpi,
    Si il veit pus sa destresse;
E primes le avera escharni
    Pur sa tresgrant largesse.
Si nul vous ad de ce servi,
    Ne creez mes sa promesse.

Si toun ami as esprové
    Ne ly deves pas offendre,
Mez seiez de une volenté:
    Grant bien en purrez prendre.
Ne seiez pas de ly grevé
    Quei qe um vous face entendre,
Quar meint um quide aver trové
    Qe puis ly estuit rendre.

Si te avient qe eiez mester
    De counsail ou de aye,
Ne le devez pas a tous mostrer —
    Tant ad le siecle envie!
A toun ami n’estuit celer
    Ton consail ne ta vie,
Quar si il te puet de ren valer,
    Il ne vous faudra mie.

E vostre bon ami tenez,
    Ne devez pas retrere;
E lealment li consilez,
    Com leals amis doit fere.
Vostre counsail a ly mostrez,
    A ly ne devez tere;
Si lealment vous entreamez,
    Le un puet l’autre crere.

Si vostre ami velt mesaler,
    La main le devez tendre.
Ne ly soffrez pas soun voler
    Si vous le poez defendre.
Mes bel ly devez chastier,
    E entre vous reprendre,
E come vous meismes en le ester,
    Sauntz nulle rien offendre.

Si vous oiez de vostre ami
    Parler par aventure,
Ne devez mettre en obly
    De preisir sa porture.
Les bienz diez derere ly;
    Devant ly, a mesure,
Quar losenger e leal ami
    Diversent par nature.

Entre amis seit oweleté,
    Senz e corteysie,
Amour e debonereté,
    E tele compagnie
Qe tant me volez de bounté,
    De solas, e de aye
Come vodrez qe feisse je
    Si je usse grant mestrie.

Uncore, y a en fyn amour
    Chose qe molt me agree,
Par ount si pasent ly plusour
    Dount ja n’ert regardee:
Si vostre ami est en dolour,
    En play ou en mellee,
Ne le guerpez a deshonour
    Pur coup ne pur colee.

Vostre ami cherissez,
    Si me volez crere.
De nulle rien ly priez
    Si il ne le pust bien fere.
Quar si il ne le fet, vous ly grevez     
    Quant il ne le puet parfere;
E si il mesfet, vous meserrez,
    Car ce fet pur vous plere.

Uncore, y a en la lessoun
    Un petit plus a fere:
La privité ton compaignoun
    Ne devez pas retrere.
Soun consail te est confessioun,
    Assez en devez tere.
Si en tant ly feissez tresoun,
    A envis vous dust um crere.

Si vostre ami est en pecchié,
    Qei qe nul autre en die,
Tot sachez vous la verité,
    Ne le descoverez mie.
Car meint um fust plus avilee
    Si l’em sust sa folie,
E meint um pecche en privitee
    E pus prent bone vie.

Ore ai mostré un poi de pas
    Ou amour est foundé.
En ce vers trover purras
    Si tu les as bien gardé.
A toun ami ne diez pas
    Quanque son cuer agree,
Mes ce qe a soun honour verras,
    Si en ert amour payé.

Ore pri a tous lais e clers,
    Si ne me chaut qe l’oye,
Qe nul ne prenge le travers
    De fyn amour verroie,
Car leal cuer n’est pas divers;
    Eynz ayme droite voie.
Ly “Tu autem” est en ce vers;
    Ly respounz soit de joye!
¶ He who would hear my songs,
    Let him examine his heart:
If it should, in deed or likeness,
    Touch at all upon the subject
Of a song in plain French
    In which you’ll hear described
The lesson for true lovers,
    Begin to read there!

Many a man thinks to have won
    A lover when he’s wealthy,
Whom she’ll abandon quickly,
    When she later sees his penury;
And she’ll have mocked him first
    For his very great generosity.
If anyone has treated you this way,
    No longer believe her promise.

If you’ve tested your lover
    You shouldn’t offend her,
But be of one will:
    You can reap great benefit by it.
Don’t get upset with her
    Whatever people may cause you to hear,
For many a man thinks he’s learned
    Something he may later have to disavow.

If it happens that you're in need
    Of advice or assistance,
You oughtn't reveal it to all —
    So envious is the world!
From your lover you shouldn’t conceal
    Your secrets or your way of life,
For if she can help you in anything,
    She’ll not fail you at all.

And hold fast to your lover,
    You shouldn’t withdraw;
And advise her loyally,
    As true lovers should.
Show her your thoughts,
    You must not be silent with her;
If you love each other faithfully,
    Each can believe the other.

If your lover wishes to go astray,
    You should extend your hand to her.
Don’t let her have her desire
    If you can prevent it.
But you must admonish her gently,
    And handle it privately,
And as if you yourself were in her place,
    Without offending her at all.

If you hear your lover
    Spoken of by chance,
You shouldn't forget
    To compliment her character.
Say good things out of her presence;
    In her presence, be moderate,
For a flatterer and a true lover
    Differ by nature.

Equality should exist between lovers,
    Good sense and courtesy,
Love and graciousness,
    And such companionship
That you’d wish for me as much good,
    Pleasure, and help
As you’d like me to perform
    If I had enough power.

In addition, there exists in pure love
    Something that greatly pleases me,
Which most people overlook
    And which hasn’t yet been considered:
If your lover is in distress,
    In a plight or in a conflict,
Don’t leave her to be dishonored
    For fear of a strike or a blow.

Cherish your lover,
    If you care to believe me.
Ask nothing at all of her
    Unless she can do it well.
For if she doesn’t do it, you upset her
    Because she’s unable to do it;
And if she acts badly, you act badly,
    For it was done to please you.

In addition, the lesson includes
    A little more to be done:
Your companion’s secrets
    You must never divulge.
Her secret is a confession to you,
    You must be very quiet about it.
And insofar as you betray her,
    Scarcely should anyone believe you.

If your lover's engaged in sin,
    In a way that no one else speaks of,
While you know the whole truth,
    Don’t let it ever be discovered.
For many a one would be more reviled
    Were her foolishness known,
And many a one sins in private
    And later adopts a good life.

Now I’ve shown a few of the steps
    Upon which love is founded.
In this poem you can discover
    Whether you’ve guarded them well.
Do not say to your lover
    Whatever pleases her heart,
But what will be true to her honor,
    And by this will love be requited.

Now I pray of all laity and clergy,
    And I don’t care who hears it,
That no one go against
    Pure true love,
For a loyal heart is not fickle;
    Instead it loves correctly.
The “Tu autem” is in this poem;
    Let the response be joyful!

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Go To Art. 27, Middelerd for mon wes mad, introduction
Go To Art. 27, Middelerd for mon wes mad, text