75. Le Lay de desir en complainte
GRANSON, 75. «LE LAY DE DESIR EN COMPLAINTE»: EXPLANATORY NOTES
On the form of the lai see the Introduction, p. 25–26. In the number of stanzas (12), the variety of stanza forms, the symmetry of each, and the repetition of the form of the first stanza in the last, models can be found in Machaut, Deschamps, and Froissart (see Poirion, p. 190). In content, a close model for the implied narrative situation can be found in the lai that provides the spring to the plot in Machaut’s Remède de Fortune, in which the narrator, also afflicted by désir (lines 515, 519, 639), is torn between his fear of the lady’s refusal if he should make his love known (lines 545–58) and his wish to reveal it to her (lines 530–36). (Here Wimsatt and Kibler offer a misleading translation; because of the subjunctive in line 535, it ought to be “[That is] all I want, except that in some manner, my dear lady . . . know that she is my first love and my last.”) In Machaut’s dit, the lai itself serves as the means by which the lady learns of the narrator’s love. In Granson’s lai, the speaker makes his silent plea that his lady do the same.
1 Belle, tournez vers moy vos yeulx. Compare 4.9 and the note to 75.200–16 below.
62 lais. Lais could be “lais,” the type of poem, as in line 59 (Modern French lai); “lay,” that is, “secular” (also lai in Modern French); or as we have translated it, “rough” (Modern French laid). Similarly in line 63, homs lais could be either “layman” or “an ugly man.” No doubt all of these are meant to be suggested.
153 GW suggests that there is a line missing here in all four copies that contain this passage, providing the fifth rhyme in –ent. With line 155 we resume the numbering as in her edition.
161–64 Maistre Guillaume de Machaut . . . de rigour. Piaget (p. 166) suggests that Granson may be alluding here to Machaut’s Dit dou vergier, in which one does indeed find a description of the effects of Desire (lines 549–70), but in view of his casual use of citations (see the next two notes), it’s possible that the reference is less precise. Desire is one of the recurring motifs of Machaut’s dits; see the note to 12.12–13 above.
165–71 Et Guillaume de Saint Amour . . . nul sejour. Guillaume de Saint-Amour was a thirteenth-century scholastic whose only known work, in Latin, is a polemic against the mendicant orders. Only his picturesque name (from the town in which he was born) explains why he might be cited as an expert on desire or why, before Granson’s time, he replaces Guillaume de Lorris in the passage naming the author in some manuscripts of RR. See Langlois (Manuscrits, pp. 11, 25, and 83).
183 li bons maistres. The “good master” would be Jean de Meun, who wrote the long continuation to RR during the last third of the thirteenth century. Nowhere in his more than seventeen thousand lines, however, does he make any comment on the burning of desire. Compare Piaget, pp. 165–66.
200–16 Ne doy je bien estre joyeux . . . vos yeulx. The final stanza repeats both the form and the rhymes of the first sixteen lines of the poem. Line 216, moreover, is identical to line 1, bringing the poem to a close where it began. This line is the seventeenth in what should be a sixteen-line stanza, and it appears only in manuscript A, one of the four manuscripts that contain this poem, but it is required to complete the clause that seems to begin in line 214. In the same manuscript, this poem is immediately followed by 4, a rondeau in which the same line occurs at the beginning of the third stanza (see 4.9). Jung (“Répertoire,” p. 95) suggests that the rondeau is actually the conclusion to this lai.
GRANSON, 75. «LE LAY DE DESIR EN COMPLAINTE»: 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.
GW39, Piaget p. 229.
Base MS P. Other copies: A, F, K, R (lines 95–125), S (lines 1–131).
6 qui. So C, F, K, S. A, P: quil.
107 aterminer. So A, F, K, R. P, S: aterminer et finer.
129–32 Dont je seray . . . faite. So A. P: lacks.
173 trovez . . . en. So A. F, K, P: tournez . . . a.
186 texte. So A, F, K. P: teuxte.
210 me. So A. P, F, K: tel.
213 defrire. So F, K. P: deffraire.
216 Belle, tournez vers moy vos yeulx. So A. P F K: lacks.