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Excerpt 2: Reason’s mockery of young monks and nuns1

Folio 38 ra

Par jonece s'en va li hons

En toutes dissolucions,
Et suit les males compaignies
Et les desordenees vies,
Et mue son propos souvent;
Ou se rant an aucun couvent,
Qu’il ne set garder la franchise
Que nature avoit en lui mise
Et cuide prendre au ciel la grue,
Quant il se met illeuc en mue

Man passes through his youth in every kind of dissolution and follows evil company and inordinate lives, and often changes his goal. Or he may go into some convent because he does not know how to keep the freedom with which Nature has endowed him. And he thinks that he can pluck the crane from the sky when the former mews himself up there,

Folio 38 rb
Et remaint tant qu'il soit profès;
Ou s'il resent trop grief le fes,
Si s'en repent et puis s'en ist;
Ou sa vie espoir i fenist,
Qu'il ne s'en ose revenir
Pour honte qui l’i fet tenir,
Et contre son queur i demeure.
La vit a grant mesese et pleure
La franchise qu'il a perdue
Qui ne li peut estre rendue,
Se n'est que dex grace li face,
Qui sa mesese li efface
Et la tiegne en obedience
Par la vertu de pacience.
and he remains until he is professed. Or again, he may feel the burden weighing too heavily upon him. He may repent of his vows and leave the convent, or perhaps he may finish his life there for he dare not return, held back by shame, and he will remain against his heart. There he lives in great unease and bewails the liberty that he has lost and that cannot be returned to him unless God grant him the grace to relieve his misery and keep it2 in a state of obedience through the virtue of patience.


1This passage refers to lines 4435 to 4458 in Armand Strubel's edition and to Vol. I, lines 4409 to 4432 in Félix Lecoy’s edition.[Back]

2In the original the pronoun 'le' changed to 'la'. This is probably an error in the manuscript and should read 'le' which it does in BN fr. 378.[Back]