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Art. 54, Ferroy chaunsoun: 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).

This Anglo-Norman secular song is a departie, that is, a lament from an anguished lover whose lady does not return his passion. Ready to try again to win her, he pledges his fidelity. Bearing an infectious refrain, this lyric in French is like the exuberant English Alysoun (art. 29). In its theme of unrequited love, it resembles The Lover’s Complaint and The Way of Woman’s Love (arts. 30, 93). The poet’s line lengths and rhymes are a bit eccentric, causing Jeffrey and Levy to comment that “Although it is plain that this song does not obey the rules of formal structure, it seems to be a deliberate play-on-metre rather than the work of a mere amateur or incompetent, a conscious (sometimes, perhaps, even perverse) seeking after variations of structural dimensions” (p. 254). By the lyric’s placement on fol. 76r between two other poems, it participates in a trilingual dialogue on passion in both the religious and the secular sense (Fein 2007, p. 83). For recent commentary on this item, see Durling, p. 281.

[Fol. 76r. ANL 127. Scribe: B (Ludlow scribe). Quire: 8. Meter: Three stanzas, two of seven lines, one of eleven lines, irregular in meter and rhyme scheme. A catchy 4-line refrain, 8ccc 6b, follows each stanza. Layout: No columns; written as prose with line divisions marked. Large capitals mark the initials of each stanza. Editions: Wright 1842, pp. 63–64 (no. 22); Kennedy, pp. 10–11 (no. 1); Jeffrey and Levy, 251–54 (no. 48). Other MSS: None. Translations: Kennedy, pp. 10–11; Jeffrey and Levy, pp. 252–53.]

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