70. La Complainte de l’an nouvel
GRANSON, 70. «LA COMPLAINTE DE L'AN NOUVEL»: EXPLANATORY NOTES
On the New Year’s setting see the note to 69. The complainte of the title does not imply a fixed metrical form; here, as in 72 and 76, Granson uses the same 8-line stanza (rhyming ababbcbc) that he used in more than a third of his ballades, though without maintaining the same rhymes in each stanza. The narrative frame in which the knight’s complaint is set, however slight, opens the way to comparison with other contemporary dits amoureux and with their counterparts in English, and this poem has received greatest attention from those studying its relation to Chaucer’s BD. See in particular Braddy (Chaucer, pp. 57–61), who assumes Granson’s priority, and Wimsatt (French Love Poets, pp. 143–46, and FC, p. 220), who argues for Chaucer’s. As noted in the Introduction (pp. 30–31), there is no good external evidence of chronology to help decide the case. Most of the details that the two poems share, moreover, might plausibly be derived separately from Machaut’s FA, which certainly preceded both. In all three poems, the poet overhears a knight bewailing his misfortune and introduces himself to comfort him.
1–5 Jadis m’avint . . . l’an doit commencier. Braddy (Chaucer, pp. 58–59) notes that both Granson’s and Chaucer’s poems are set in a wood (BD, line 444), and that “the poet, in both accounts, is described as moody and longing for diversion” (“merancolie,” line 1; “melancolye,” BD, line 23). Machaut’s poet also suffers from merencolie (FA, line 67), but he overhears the knight’s complaint through a window from an adjacent room. Braddy also claims that in both Granson’s and Chaucer’s poems the time is “towards morning.” While true of Chaucer’s (line 292) and Machaut’s (line 1041), Granson’s seems to be set in the evening.
9 Le chevalier disoit en sa complainte. In Machaut’s and Chaucer’s poems, as in Granson’s, the knight’s lament is labeled a complainte (FA, lines 214, 231, 1047; BD, line 487). He speaks it aloud without realizing that he is overheard until the poet steps forth to greet him.
10–56 The complaintes in Machaut’s, Granson’s, and Chaucer’s poems differ greatly — Machaut’s recounting the anxiety surrounding an upcoming separation, Granson’s the pangs of unrequited love, and Chaucer’s the grief at a lady’s death — and have no apparent relation to one another.
17 la bonne estraine. While “good fortune” appears to be the primary sense here, one cannot use estraine in this context without also invoking the notion of the New Year’s gift as in line 14. See the note to 69 above.
32–48 For the personification of the heart and the eyes in these lines, compare 64.
61–64 Et quant son plaint recommencier . . . sa complainte cesser. The consolation offered in Granson’s poem is perfunctory, to say the least, compared to both Machaut’s and Chaucer’s, in each of which the conversation between poet and knight constitutes the longest part of the poem.
GRANSON, 70. :«LA COMPLAINTE DE L'AN NOUVEL»: TEXTUAL NOTES
Abbreviations: A: Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire, MS 350; B: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fr. 1727; C: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fr. 1131; D: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fr. 24440; E: Barcelona, Biblioteca de Catalunya, MS 8, Catalan, 1420–30; F: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, fr. 2201; G: London, Westminster Abbey Library, MS 21; H: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fr. 833, c. 1500; J: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fr. 1952; K: Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire, IS 4254; L: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Rothschild MS I.I.9; M: Carpentras, Bibliothèque Inguimbertine, MS fr. 390; N: Brussels, Bibliothèque royale Albert 1er, MS 10961–10970, c. 1465; O: Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek, MS 410, c. 1430; P: Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Van Pelt Library, MS Codex 902 (formerly Fr. MS 15), 1395–1400; Q: Berne, Burgerbibliothek da la Bourgeoisie, MS 473, 1400–40; R: Turin, Archivio di Stato, MS J. b. IX. 10; S: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fr. 24404; T: Besançon, Bibliothèque Municipale, MS 556, 1826; V: Carpentras, Bibliothèque Inguimbertine, MS 411; W: Brussels, Bibliothèque royale Albert 1er, MS IV 541, 1564–81; Y: Turin, Biblioteca Nazionale e Universitaria, MS L.II.12.
For each poem, we provide the following:
Other editions: The location of the poem in the editions of Grenier-Winther (GW) and Piaget.
Base MS: The manuscript from which our text is taken, using the sigla listed on this page.
Other copies: The other manuscripts in which the poem appears, with the line numbers for excerpts.
Selected variants: Most of the notes record the editors’ emendations. A small number (for instance, regarding the titles) record alternative readings when we did not emend the base text. We do not, however, provide a complete list of variants, for which one may consult Grenier-Winther’s edition. Each note consists of a line number, a lemma (the reading from our text), the manuscript source for the reading that we have chosen, selected readings from other manuscripts; and the reading from the base manuscript when it was rejected. If no manuscript source is listed following the lemma, the adopted reading is the editors’ conjecture.
Other comments on the text, as required.
GW51, Piaget p. 199.
Base MS P. Other copies: A, E (lines 1–44 only, each stanza followed by another attributed to “Lesparra”), F, K, W.
Title La complainte de l’an nouvel. So A, E, P. F: La complainte de lan nouvel que gransson fost pour un chevalier quil escoutait complaindre. K: Cy commence la complainte de lan nouvel que granson fist pour un chevalier quil lescoutoit se plaindre pres dun bouquet.