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Art. 77, Le blasme des femmes


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); CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; CUL: Cambridge University Library (Cambridge); DOML: Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library; FDT: French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages (Sinclair 1979); FDT-1French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages, . . . First Supplement (Sinclair 1982); IMEV: The Index of Middle English Verse (Brown and Robbins); 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).

41 fotere. “Vulture,” with a possible play on French futre, “fuck.” See MED, vulture (n.), which lists the Anglo-French form voutre.

45 payl. “Hair, coat”; see AND, peil.

46 aspre. “rough, violent, harsh”; see AND, aspre; MED, aspre (adj.).

96 On the rhetorical dichotomy of woman as either an angel or a devil, see Dove’s discussion (2000, pp. 344–45).


ABBREVIATIONS: As: Aspin; : Böddeker; Br: Brook; BS: Bennett and Smithers; BZ: Brandl and Zippel; B13: Brown 1937; Dea: J. M. Dean; Do: Dove 1969; Fl: Flood; : Förster; Fu: Furnivall; HB: Hunt and Bliss; Kem: Kemble; Ken: Kennedy; Mi: Millett; Mo: Morris and Skeat; MS: MS Harley 2253; Mu1: H. J. R. Murray; Mu2: J. A. H. Murray; NB: Noomen and van den Boogard; Pa: Patterson; Rev: Revard 2005a; Ri: Ritson 1877; Ro: Robbins 1959; SP: Short and Pearcy; Si: Silverstein; St: Stemmler 1970; Tu: Turville-Petre 1989; Ul: Ulrich; W1: Wright 1839; W2: Wright 1841; W3: Wright 1842; WH: Wright and Halliwell.

9 pris. So WH, Ken, Do.

10 yl. So MS, WH, Do. Ken: il.

37 demostrer. So MS, WH, Do. Ken: demonstrer.

41 fotere. So MS, WH, Ken. Do: sotere.

44 houel. MS (b written instead of v), WH, Ken, Do: hobel.

75 forcyn. So MS, WH. Ken, Do: fortyn.

77 perdy. So MS (er abbreviated), WH, Ken. Do: pardy.





















   ¶ Quy femme prent a compagnie,
Veiez si il fet sen ou folye —
Qy en femme despent sa cure,
Oiez sa mort e sa dreiture!
Qy femme eyme e femme creit
Sa mort brace, sa mort beyt.
Qy coveyte ou femme preyse
Sa mort quert e nulle eyse.
Sauntz pris e sauntz loer, se vend
E fet la lace dount yl se pend.
Cui ces vers ad en remenbraunce,
Yl doute femme plus qe launce.
   Femme est racyne de tous maus.
Femme engendre ires mortaus.
Femme deceit bons amys.
De deus freres, fet enymys.
Femme departe le fitz del pere,
A force le toud de sa mere.
Femme par sa fauce parole
Blaundist le honme e pus le afole.
Femme afole les plus sachauntz;
Les plus riches, fet paynquerauntz.
Femme fet bataille e guere,
Occyre gentz, destrure terre.
Ard chastiels, prent cités.
Femme refuse fermetés.
Femme fet prendre les tornois,
E fet fere les desrois.
Femme fet fere les mesleez,
Trere cotels e espeez.
Femme fet chastiels graventer,
Chevalers e serjauntz anuyer.
Femme fet ume de ordre issir
E le service Dieu guerpyr.
Femme engendre en poi de houre
Dount tote la countré emploure.
   Femme est jolyf pur ly demostrer:
Femme est lyoun pur devorer.
Femme est gopil pur gent deceyvre.
Femme est ourse pur cours receyvre.
Femme est fotere pur tous prendre.
Femme est ostour pur preie atteindre.
Femme est esperver pur haut voler.
Femme est houel pur haut mounter.
Femme est heyroun de suef payl.
Femme est plus aspre que chamail.
Femme est chyval de grant luxure.
Femme est dragoun de grant arsure.
   Unqe languor ne conoit
Qe femme a compaigne ne avoit.
Femme est fontaigne desouz vaye,
Que tot recet e tot abaye.
Femme est taverne que ne faut,
Qui qe vine e qy qe vaut.
Femme est enfern que tot receit;
Touz jours ad seif e tous jours beit.
De femme ce est la nature —
Meynz la creez come plus jure!
Femme n’ert ja pris privee
Si desouz loer ne soit trovee.
Femme est leger come le vent —
Cent foiz le jour chaunge talent.
   Mes quy vodera femme joyr,
Je ly dirroi, sauntz mentyr,
Qu’il ly donast poy a manger,
E mal a vestir e a chaucer,
E la batist menu e sovent —
Donqe freit il de femme son talent!
N’est mie sage que femme creit,
Mere ne suere qui qe seit.
   Car ly sage Salamoun —
Que de sen out graunt renoun
Qe plus sage de ly ne fu —
Par sa femme fust desçu.
Auxi fust Sampson forcyn,
Car femme par son engyn:
Tot en dormant, il perdy
Ce dount fust si enforci.
En femme est molt malveysyn
Car l’emperour Constantyn
Out par sa femme tiele hountage,
Car ele cocha par folage
Ov le naym de lede figure,
Sicome honme treove en escripture.
E ly bon myr Ypocras,
Qe tant savoit de medicyne artz,
Fust par sa femme desçu —
Ceste chose est bien aparsu.
Pur ce, vous dy, tart e matyn,
Gardez vous de femel engyn!
Nul honme puet a chief trere —
Taunt ad en femme mal affere!
   Plus ne vueil de femmes parler —
Chescun se gard de eux a son poer!
E je vous dy tot sauntz fable:
Femme siet un art plus que le Deable!     
   ¶ He who takes woman for a companion,
Consider whether he acts wisely or foolishly.
He who expends his care upon a woman,
Hear regarding his death and just desert!
He who woman loves and woman believes
Contrives his death, drinks his death.
He who desires or prizes a woman
Seeks his own death and no comfort.
Without honor or praise, he sells himself
And makes the noose to hang himself.
He who memorizes these verses
Shall fear woman more than the spear.
   Woman is the root of all evils.
Woman begets mortal angers.
Woman deceives good friends.
Between two brothers, she makes enemies.
Woman divides son from father,
Forcibly refts him from his mother.
Woman by her false speech
Flatters man and then deceives him.
Woman deceives the wisest;
Of the richest, makes beggars.
Woman causes battle and wars,
To kill people, to destroy lands.
She burns castles, captures cities.
Woman demolishes fortresses.
Woman causes tournaments to be taken up,
And causes devastation to occur.
Woman causes fights to commence,
Knives and swords to be drawn.
Woman causes castles to be overthrown,
Knights and men-at-arms to be injured.
Woman causes men to forsake holy orders
And abandon God’s service.
Woman begets in a little while
That for which the whole country weeps.
   Woman is happy in demonstrating this:
Woman is a lion in devouring.
Woman is a fox in deceiving men.
Woman is a bear in maiming bodies.
Woman is a vulture in taking all.
Woman is a goshawk in capturing prey.
Woman is a sparrow hawk in flying high.
Woman is an owl in high climbing.
Woman is a heron of soft coat.
Woman is more rough than a camel.
Woman is a horse of great debauchery.
Woman is a dragon of burning heat.
   One doesn’t know debilitating fatigue
Unless he has a woman for companion.
Woman is a fountain beneath the way,
Who receives and engulfs all.
Woman is a tavern that doesn’t run out,
Whoever comes and whoever goes.
Woman is a hell that receives all;
She’s always thirsty and always drinks.
This is woman’s nature —
Believe her the less as she swears the more!
Woman is never taken privately
Who hasn’t been found to be beneath praise.
Woman is light as the wind —
One hundred times a day she changes her will.
   But one who would wish to enjoy a woman,
I shall say to him, without lying,
That he should give her little to eat,
And dress and shoe her badly,
And he should beat her fast and thick —
Thus will he have his will with a woman!
He’s not at all wise who believes a woman,
Though she be mother or sister.
   For the wise Solomon —
Who for wit was so very famous
That there was none wiser than he —
Was deceived by his wife.
And so was strong Samson,
By a woman with her tricks:
Fast asleep, he lost
What made him so strong.
In woman is such wickedness
That even Emperor Constantine
Had shame on account of his wife,
For she slept in wantonness
With the ugly-faced dwarf,
As one may find in writing.
And the good doctor Hippocrates,
Who knew so well the arts of medicine,
Was deceived by his wife —
This thing is well known.
For this, I tell you, all day long,
Watch out for feminine trickery!
No man can reach a good end,
So terrible is the evil of woman!
   I don’t wish to speak further about women —
Let each protect himself from them as best he can!
And I tell you this entirely without lying:
Woman is one trick ahead of the Devil!



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Go To Art. 78, Nicholas Bozon, Femmes a la pye, introduction
Go To Art. 78, Nicholas Bozon, Femmes a la pye, text