Back to top

Art. 84, La gagure, ou L’esquier e la chaunbrere


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).

52 le perer jahenyn. “An early-ripening pear (tree).” See MED, pere-jonette (n.); and Kennedy, p. 234.

67 seint Martyn. Saint Martin of Tours, whose autumnal festival was associated throughout western Europe with the maturation of wine and the harvest. A period of fasting began after St. Martin’s Day, November 11, so the festival was associated with hearty eating and drinking.

93 seint Thomas. The reference could be to Thomas of Canterbury, martyr (d. 1170), or it may point to another English saint with local resonance in the West Midlands: Thomas of Cantilupe (ca. 1218–1282), Bishop of Hereford (1275–82) and, briefly, Chancellor of England (1264). He favored Simon de Montfort’s cause during the Barons’ War (compare arts. 23, 24).


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.

14 Qe. So MS, Ken, NB. Rev: Que.

23 ma dame. So MS, Ken, NB. Rev: Madame.

32 que. So MS, Ken, NB. Rev: qe.

37 oblié. So MS, Ken, NB. Rev: oublie.

38 repeyré. So MS, Ken, Rev. NB: reperye.

43 Pur. So MS (ur abbreviated), Ken. NB, Rev: Por.

44 S’il. So MS, Ken. NB, Rev: Si.

74 Si. So MS, Ken, NB. Rev: Ci.

83 la. So MS, Ken, Rev . NB: sa.

88 J’ay. So MS, NB, Rev. Ken: J’ai.

89 en riaunt. So MS, Ken. NB: en riant. Rev: enriant.

96 Ay. So MS, Ken, Rev. NB: Sy.

























   ¶ Une fable vueil comencer
Qe je oy l’autrer counter
De Un esquier e une chaunbrere,
Que comence en ytiele manere.
   Un chevaler jadis estoit
Que une tres bele femme avoit,
Mes ele n’amoit pas soun lygnage.
De ce, ne fist ele que sage.
Son frere estoit son esquier,
Si ly servy de tiel mestier
Come a esquier apent.
E la dame ensement
Avoit une sue cosyne,
Qe molt estoit gente meschyne.
E l’esquyer la daunea,
E de molt fyn cuer la ama.
   Avynt issi par un jour,
Que l’esquier la requist d’amour,
E cele a sa dame counte
Coment l’esquier requist sa hounte.
   E dit la dame, “Savez bien
Qu’il vous ayme sur tote rien?”
   “Oil, certes, ma dame.
Ce me jure il par s’alme.”
   “Ore arere tost va
E ditez vostre amour ne avera
Quar vous ne poez saver
Qu’il vous ayme de cuer enter
Si il ne vous feist une rien,
E de ce vous asseurist bien:
Vostre cul beiser, premerement,
Si que ne sache pas la gent.
   E quant avera toun cul beisé,
De toi fra sa volenté.
E, pus, me dirrez la verité
Quant il vous avera ce graunté.”
   La pucele ne s’est oblié.
A l’esquier est repeyré,
Que li dit tot son talent.
La pucele dit erralment
Que ele ne puet crere ne quider
Qu’il l’ayme de cuer entier.
Pur ce, si il velt s’amour aver,
S’il li covent son cul beyser,
E ce si privément
Qu’il ne soit aparsu de la gent,
“Quar de ce n’averez ja blame.”
   “Volenters,” fet il, “par m’alme!
Ore tost terme me metez.”
   “Tauntost,” fet ele, “si vous volez,
La sus en cel jardyn
Desouz le perer jahenyn.
Alez e ileque m’atendez.
Je y vendroi, ce sachez.”
   L’esquier avant ala,
E la pucele retorna
A sa dame si l’a countee,
Que molt ad joie demenee.
A l’esquier la envoia.
   E a soun seigneur meismes ala
Ov bele chere, ov bel semblant.
“Sire,” fet ele, “venez avaunt
Si verrez vostre frere
Beyser le cul ma chaunbrere.”
   “Certes,” dit il, “je ne quid mie
Qu’il freit tiele vyleynie.
Si frez, par seint Martyn,
Ce mettroi un tonel de vyn.”
   La gagure ount affermee
E as fenestres sunt alee.
La damoisele se est venue
A l’esquier, que la salue.
   Yl leve sus les dras derer.
Pus pensout, “Si a bon mester!”
L’esquier, a soun voler,
De son affere ne vodra failler.
Yl sake avaunt bon bordoun,
Si l’a donné enmy le coun.
Un gros vit, long e quarré,
Si ly a enmy le coun doné.
Si la ensi a ly de ces bras afferma
Qu’ele ne poeit gwenchir, sa ne la.
   E la dame ly escria
E hastivement a li parla
Ov grosse voiz e longe aleyne:
“Gwenchez, trestresse! Gwenchez, puteyne!        
Gwenchez! Dieu te doint mal fyn!
J’ay perdu le tonel de vyn!”
   E ly sire ly dist, en riaunt:
“Tien tei, leres, je te comaunt!
Frapez la bien e vistement,
Je te comaund, hardiement!
De lower averez, par seint Thomas,
Un cheval qe vaudra dis mars!
Ore, dame, me diez, par amour,
Ay je gayné le wagour?
E, dame, vous ne fetez mie qe sage
De haier ceux qe sunt de mon lynage,
De pus qe je tendrement
Aym les vos entierement.”
   Le prodhome fist son frere
Esposer cele chaunbrere,
E pus aprés ycel jour
La dame ama par tendrour
Ceux qe soun seygneur ama,
E molt de cuer les honora.
De La chaunbrere e l’esquier,
N’est ore plus a treter.
   ¶ I want to begin an idle tale
That I heard told the other day
About A Squire and a Chambermaid,
Which begins in this way.
   There was once a knight
Who had a very fair wife,
But she didn’t love his lineage.
In this, she wasn’t being at all wise.
His brother was his squire,
And he served him in such office
As is expected of a squire.
And the lady likewise
Had [in service] one of her cousins,
Who was a very refined girl.
And the squire courted her,
And loved her sincerely.
   It happened thus one day,
That the squire asked for her love,
And she tells her lady
How the squire asked for her disgrace.
   And the lady says, “Know you well
That he loves you above all things?”
   “Yes, indeed, my lady.
He swears this to me upon his soul.”
   “Now go back quickly
And tell him he won’t have your love
Because you’re not able to know
Whether he loves you with his whole heart     
Till he does a trivial thing for you,
And by this gives you proof:
To kiss your ass, first,
In such a way that people won’t know,
   And when he’s kissed your ass,
He’ll have from you what he wants.
And, then, tell me truly
When he’s granted you this.”
   The girl doesn’t waste time.
She’s gone back to the squire,
Who tells her all his will.
Forthwith the girl says
That she can’t believe or think
That he loves her with his whole heart.
For this reason, if he wants to have her love,
It’s necessary that he kiss her ass,
And this so secretly
That he not be seen by people,
“So you won’t ever be blamed for this.”
   “Gladly,” he says, “upon my soul!
Now quickly give me a time.”
   “Right away,” she says, “if you want,
Up there in that garden
Under the pear-jonette tree.
Go there and wait for me.
I’ll come there, I promise.”
   The squire went forth,
And the girl returned
To her lady and told her about this,
Which has made the lady quite merry.
To the squire she sent her.
   And to her lord she herself went
With glad look, with glad expression.
“Lord,” she says, “come out
And you’ll see your brother
Kiss my chambermaid’s ass.”
   “Certainly,” he says, “I don’t believe
That he’d do something so crude.
If you’re willing, by Saint Martin,
I’ll wager a cask of wine.”
   They’ve agreed on the wager
And have gone to the windows.
The young lady has come
To the squire, who greets her.
   He lifts up her gown in the back.
Then he thought, “Here’s a good office!”
The squire, following his will,
Didn’t want to fail in his business.
He draws out the sturdy staff,
And gives it to her in the center of the cunt.
A big prick, long and thick,
He’s given her in the center of the cunt.
And he’s so bound her to him with his arms
That she can’t turn away, this way or that.
   And the lady cried out to her
And hastily spoke to her
With a big voice and a long breath:
“Turn away, traitress! Turn away, whore!
Turn away! God give you a bad end!
I’ve lost the cask of wine!”
   And, laughing, the lord said to him:
“Hold on tight, rascal, I command you!
Strike her well and quickly,
I command you, heartily!
As a reward you’ll have, by Saint Thomas,
A horse that’ll be worth ten marks!
Now, lady, tell me, for love’s sake,
Have I won the wager?
And, lady, you’re not acting at all wisely
To hate those who are of my lineage,
Since I tenderly
Love yours thoroughly.”
   The good man had his brother
Marry the chambermaid,
And ever since that day
The lady loved with tenderness
Those whom her lord loved,
And honored them sincerely.
Of The Chambermaid and the Squire,
There’s now no more to discuss.






(see note)

(see note)




(see note)


Go To Art. 85, A bok of swevenyng, introduction
Go To Art. 85, A bok of swevenyng, text