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Excerpt 6: False Seeming's Speech Addressing the God of Love's Army1

Folio 92ra

Mes Faus Semblant de ceste chose

por vos entremetre ne s'ose,
car il dit que vos le haez,
ne set2 s'a honir le baez.
Si vos prions trestuit, biau sire,
que vos li pardoigniez vostre ire
et soit de vostre baronie
avec Attenance, s'amie :
c'est nostre acort, c'est nostre otroi.
— 'Par foi, dist Amors, je l'otroi.'
Des or veill qu'il soit a ma cort.
Ça, viegne avant!' Et cil acort.
'But False Seeming does not dare interject in this matter, for he says that you hate him, and he doesn't know if you intend to put him to shame. Therefore, we all beg you, fair sir, that you give over your anger toward him, and we beg that, with Abstinence his friend, he may be part of our barony. That is our agreement, our compact.' 'By my faith,' said Love, 'I grant this permission. From now on l want him to be in my court. So, come forward.' And False Seeming ran forward.

'Faus Semblant, par tel covenant

seras a moi tout maintenant
'False Seeming, by such an agreement you are now mine.
Folio 92rb
que touz noz amis aideras
et que ja nul n'en greveras,
ainz penseras d'eus eslever.
Mes de noz anemis grever,
tiens soit li poairs et li bauz.
Tu me seras rois des ribauz,
You will aid our friends and never give them any trouble, on the contrary, you will think of how to privilege them. It is your power and your office to give trouble to our enemies.
qu'ainsinc le veust nostre chapistres.
Sanz faille, tu iés maus traïstres
et lierres trop desmesurez,
·c· mile foiz t'iés parjurez;
mes toutevois en audiance,
por noz genz oster de dotance,
conmant je que tu leur enseignes,
au mains par generaus enseignes,
en quel leu mieuz te troveroient,
se du trover mestier avoient,
et conment l'en te connoistra,
car granz sens en toi connoistre a.
Di nous en quex leus tu converses.'
You will be my king of scoundrels, since our chapter wishes it thus. Without fail, you are a wicked traitor and an unrestrained thief. You have perjured yourself a hundred thousand times. However, publicly, to relieve our people of their uncertainty, I command you to teach them, at least generally, where they might best find you if they needed to, and how you will be recognized, for it is wise to be able to recognize you. Tell us what places you frequent.'
— 'Sire, j'ai mansions diverses,
que ja ne vos quier reciter,
s'il vos plest, a m'en respiter;
car se le voir vos en raconte,
g'i puis avoir domage et honte.
Se mi compaignon le savoient,
certeinement il m'en harroient
et m'en procurroient ennui,
s'onques leur cruiauté quennui,
car il veulent en touz leus taire
veritez, qui leur est contraire,
'Sir, I have various mansions that I would never try to tell you about, if it please you to relieve me of doing so, for if I tell you the truth about them, I can bring harm and shame to them. If my companions knew it, they would certainly harass me and cause trouble for me, if I ever knew their cruelty. In all places they want to silence the truth which runs contrary to them;
Folio 92va
ja ne la querroient oïr.
Trop en porroie mal joïr
se je disoie d'eus parole
qui ne leur fust plesant et mole,
car la parole qui les point
ne leur abelist onques point,
se c'estoit neïs l'evangile
qui les repreïst de leur guile,
car trop sunt cruel malement.
Si sai je bien certainement,
se je vos en di nule chose,
ja si bien n'iert vostre cort close
qu'il nou sachent, conbien qu'il tarde.
Des preudes homes n'ai je garde,
car ja seur eus, riens n'en prendront
preudome, quant il m'entendront;
mes cil qui seur lui le prendra
por soupeçoneus se rendra
qu'il ne veille mener la vie
de Barat et d'Ypocrisie3
qui m'engendrerent et norrirent.'
- 'Mout bone engendreüre i4 firent,'
dist Amors, 'et mout profitable,
qu'il engendrerent le deable.

Mes toutevois, conment qu'il aille,

convient il, dist Amors! sanz faille
que ci tes mansions nous somes
tantost, oianz trestouz noz homes,
et que ta vie nous espoignes;
n'est pas bon que plus la repoignes,
they would never seek to hear it. If I said a word about them that was not pleasing and friendly to them, I would hardly enjoy it. The words that sting them never please them at all, even if they were words from the gospel that reprimanded them for their treachery, for they are very cruel in an evil way. Indeed, I know for certain that, if I say anything to you about them, they will know about it sooner or later, no matter how enclosed your court is. I give no attention to worthy men, for when they hear me, they never apply what I say to them. But the man who does take what I say as applying to him falls under the suspicion of wishing to lead the life of Fraud and Hypocrisy, who engendered and nourished me.' 'They made a very good engendering of it,' said Love, 'and a very profitable one, since they engendered the devil. But in any case,' he went on, 'it is necessary, without fail, that you name your mansions for us immediately, for all men here to hear, and that you explain your life to us. It is not good to hide it any more;
Folio 92vb
tout convient que tu nous desqueuvres
conment tu serz et de quex heuvres,
puis que ceanz t'iés enbatuz;
et se por voir dire iés batuz,
si n'en iés tu pas costumiers,
tu ne seras pas le prumiers.'

- 'Sire, quant vos vient a plesir,

se j'en devoie morz gesir,
ge feré vostre volanté,
car du fere grant talant é.'

Faus Semblant, qui plus n'i atant,

conmence son sarmon atant
Et dit a touz en audience:
you must reveal everything: how you serve and by what means, since you have thrown yourself in among us. And if you are beaten for telling the truth – something you are not accustomed to do – you will not be the first.'
'Sir, when it comes to you as a pleasure, even if I should lie dead as a result, I shall do your will, for I have a great desire to do so.' Then, without waiting any longer, False Seeming began his sermon and said to the entire audience:
'Baron, entendez ma sentence!

Qui faus samblant vodra connoistre

Si le quiere au siecle ou en cloitre.
Nul leu fors en ces ·ii· ne mains
Mes en l'un plus, en autre mains.
Briefment, ie me vois hosteler
La ou ie me cuit5 mieuz celer,
C'est6 la celee plus seüre
Souz la plus umble7 vesteüre.
Religieus sont mout couvert,
Seculer sont plus a ouvert.
Si ne veill ie mie blamer
Religion ne diffamer
En quel qu'habit que l'en la truisse;
Ja religion, que je puisse,
Humble et leal ne blamerai,
Nepourquant ia ne l'amerai.
'Barons, hear my judgment:
He who wants to know False Seeming, must seek him in the world or in the cloister. I dwell in no place except these two, but more in one and less in the other. Briefly, I am lodged where I think that I am better hidden. The safest hiding place is under the most humble garment. The religious are very covert, the worldly more open. I do not want to blame or defame the religious calling, in whatever habit one may find it. I shall not, as I may, blame the humble and loyal religious life, although I do not love it.
Folio 93ra

Qu'entent8 des faus religieus,

Des felons, des malicieus
Qui l'abit en veulent vestir
Et ne veulent leur queur mestir.
Religieus sont tuit piteus,
Ja n'en verrez ·i· despiteus:
Il n'ont cure d'orgueill ensivre,
Tuit se veulent humblement vivre.
Avec tex genz ia ne9 maindrai,
Et se g'i maign: ie m'i faindrai.
Leur habit porre ie bien prendre
Mes ain me lesseroie pendre
Que ia de mon propos ississe,
Quelque chiere que g'i feïsse!

Je mains avec les orgueilleus,

Les veziez, les arteilleus,
Qui mondaines honeurs covoitent
Et les granz besoingnes esploitent
Et vont traçant les granz pitances
Et pourchaçant les acointances
Des puissanz homes, et les sivent,
Et se font povre, et il10 se vivent
Des bons morseaut delicieus
Et boivent les vins precieus,
Et la povrete vous11 preeschent,
Et les granz richeces peeschent
Aus seimes et aus tramaus.
Par mon chief, il en istra maus!
Ne sont religieus ne monde;
Il font ·i· argument au monde,
I seek the false religious, the felons, the evildoers who want to wear the habit but do not want to subdue their hearts. The religious are all compassionate; you will never see a spiteful one. They do not care to follow pride, and they all want to live humbly. I never dwell with such people, and if I do, I pretend. I can indeed assume their habit, but I would rather let myself be hanged than desert my main business, whatever face I put on.
I dwell with the proud, the crafty, the guileful, who covet worldly honors and who carry out large dealings, who go around tracking down large handouts and cultivating the acquaintance of powerful men and becoming their followers. They pretend to be poor, and they live on good, delicious morsels of food and drink costly wines. They preach poverty to you while they fish for riches with seines and trammel nets. By my head, evil will come of them. They are neither religious nor worldly. To the world they present an argument
Folio 93rb

Ou conclusion a honteuse:

Cist a robe religieuse,
Donques est il religieus.
Cist argumenz est touz fieus,
Il ne vaut pas ·i· coustel troine;
La robe12 ne fet pas le moine.
Nepourquant nus n'i set respondre,
Tant face13 haut sa teste tondre
Voire rere au rasoer de elanches
Qui barat trenche en ·xiij· branches;
Nus ne set si bien distinter
Qui l'en14 ose ·i· seul mot tinter.
Mes es en15 quelque leu que ie viengne,
Ne comment que ie m'i contiengne,
Nule riens16 plus fors barat n'i chaz.
Ne plus que dam17 Tiberz li chaz
N'entent qu'a soriz et a raz,
N'entent ie a riens fors a baraz.
Ne ia certes pour mon habit
Ne savrez o quex genz i'abit;
Non ferez vous voir aus paroles,
Ja tant n'ierent simples ne moles.
Les euvres regarder devez,
Se18 vous n'avez les euz crevez,
Car si19 font el qu'il ne dient,
Certainement il vous conchient,
Quelconques robes qu'il aient,
De quelconques estat qu'il saient,
Soit clers, soit lais, soit hons, soit fame,
Sires, serianz, baiasse, ou dame.'
in which there is a shameful conclusion: this man has the robe of religion; therefore he is a religious. This argument is specious, not worth a knife of privet; the habit does not make the monk. Nevertheless no one knows how to reply to the argument, no matter how high he tonsures his head, even if he shaves with the razor of the Elenchis, that cuts up fraud into thirteen branches. No man knows so well how to set up distinctions that he dare utter a single word about it. But whatever place I come to, no matter how I conduct myself, I pursue nothing except fraud. No more than Tibert the cat has his mind on anything but mice and rats do I think of anything except fraud. Certainly by my habit you would never know with what people I dwell, any more than you would from my words, no matter how simple and gentle they were. You should look at actions if your eyes have not been put out; for if people do something other than what they say, they are certainly tricking you, whatever robes they have or whatever estate they occupy, clerical or lay, man or woman, lord, sergeant, servant, or lady.'


1 This passage corresponds to lines 10923 to 11086 in Armand Strubel's edition and Vol. II, lines 10889 to 11052 in Félix Lecoy's edition.



4i is missing



7plus simple





12Li abiz


14Qu'il en

15es is missing.

16Nient plus

17Ausi com dant