La vielle illeuc point ne sejorne,
le trot a Bel Aqueull retorne,
qui la tour outre son gré garde,
4car bien se soffrist de tel garde.
The Duenna stayed there no longer, but returned at a trot to Fair Welcoming, who guarded the tower against his will, for he would prefer not to stand guard like this.
Tant va qu'ele vient a l'entree
de la tour, ou tost est entree.
She walked until she came to the entry of the tower, where she entered quickly.
Les degrez monte lieement
8au plus qu'el peut hastivement,
si li trembloient tuit li mambre.
Belaqueill quiert de chambre en chambre,
qui s'iert aus querneaus apuiez,
12de la prison touz ennuiez.
Pensif le treuve, et2 triste et morne;
de li3 reconforter s'atorne :
Blithely, she mounted the steps as fast as she could, all her limbs trembling. She looked for Fair Welcoming from room to room who came out to lean over the battlements, bored by his prison. Since he was pensive, sad, and mournful, she set herself to comfort him.
'Biaus filz, dist ele, mout m'esmoi
16quant vos truis en si grant esmoi.
Dites moi quex sunt cist4 pensé,
car se conseillier vos en sé,
ja ne m'en verrez nul jor faindre.'
20Belaqueull ne s'ose complaindre
ne dire li quoi ne coument,
qu'il ne set s'el dit voir ou ment.
Tretout son penser li nia,
24car point de seürté n'i a,
de riens en li ne se fiait.
Neïs ses cueurs la deffiait,
qu'il ot poëreus et tremblant,
28mes n'en oseit moutrer semblant,
tant l'avoit tourjorz redoutee,
la pute vielle redoutee.
Garder se veust de mesprison,
32qu'il a poor de traïson;
ne li desclost pas sa mesese,
en soi meïsmes se rapese
par semblant, et fet liee5 chiere :
36'Certes, fet il, ma dame chiere,
'Fair son,' she said, 'it distresses me much to find you so greatly dismayed. Tell me your thoughts, for if I know how to counsel you, you will never see me hesitate to do so at any time.'
Since Fair Welcoming did not know whether she spoke the truth or lied, he did not dare to complain nor to ask 'What?' nor 'How?'. He denied her his thoughts, for he had no confidence in her at all. He confided nothing to her; even his trembling and fearful heart mistrusted her, but he dared show no sign of his mistrust, so great had his fear always been of the senile old whore. Since he feared that she would betray him, he wanted to avoid the least hint of wrongdoing. Therefore he did not reveal his uneasiness to her, but calmed himself within and put on an outward show of gaiety: 'Certainly, my dear lady,'
conbien que mis sus le m'aiez,
je ne sui de riens esmaiez,
fors, sanz plus, de vostre demeure.
40Sanz vos enviz6 ceanz demeure,
car en vos trop grant amor é.
Ou avez vos tant demoré ?
— Ou? Par mon chief, tost le savrez,
44mes du savoir grant joie avrez,
se point estes vaillant ne sages,
car, en leu d'estranges mesages,
li plus cortais vallez du monde,
48qui de toutes graces habonde,
qui plus de mil foiz vos salue
— car jou7 vi ore en cele rue
si con il trespassoit la voie —
52par moi ce chapel vos envoie.
Volentiers, ce dit, vos verroit,
james puis vivre ne queroit
n'avoir ·i· seul jor de santé
56se n'iert par vostre volanté,
si le gart Dex et sainte Foiz !
mes qu'une toute seule foiz
parler,8 ce dit, a vos peüst
60a loisir, mes qu'il vos pleüst.
Por vos, sanz plus, aime il sa vie;
touz nuz vorroit estre a Pavie
par tel covant qu'il seüst fere
64chose qui bien vos peüst plere;
ne li chaudroit qu'il devenist,
mes que pres de lui vos tenist.'
he said, 'however much you accuse me of being downcast, I am not in the least distressed, except only because you stay away from me. Without you, it is difficult to live in this place, so great a love do I have for you. Where have you dwelt for so long?'
'Where? By my head! You shall know soon, and you shall take great joy in your knowledge if you are at all valiant or wise, for instead of greetings from a stranger, I bring more than a thousand salutes from the most courteous young man in the world, who abounds in every grace. I saw him just now in the street as he was going along, and he sent you this chaplet by me. He said that he would gladly see you and that, if it were not through your desire as well, he would never afterward seek to live nor have a single day of health. God and Saint Foy keep him, he said, unless he could speak to you freely just one single time, provided that you were pleased. To say no more, he loves his life on your account. He would gladly be naked at Pavia on condition that he knew how to do one thing that could give you pleasure. It wouldn't matter what happened to him as long as he could keep you near him.'
Belacueill enquiert toute voie
68qui cil est qui ce9 li envoie,
ainz qu'il reçoive le present,
por ce que doutable le sent,
qu'il peüst de tel leu venir
72qu'il n'en vosist point retenir.
Et la vielle, sanz autre conte,
toute la verité li conte :
'C'est le vallez que vos savez,
76don tant oï parler avez,
por cui pieça tant vos greva,
quant le blasme vos esleva,
feu Male Bouche de jadis.
80Ja n'aille s'ame en paradis!
Maint preudome a desconforté,
or l'en ont deable porté,
qu'il est morz, eschapé li somes!
84Ne pris mes sa jangle ·ii· pomes,
a tourjorz en somes delivre;
et s'il poait ore revivre,
ne nous porroit il pas grever,
88tant vos seüst10 blasme eslever,
car je sai plus qu'il ne fist onque.
Or me craez et prenez donques
cest chapel et si le portez,
92de tant au mains le confortez,
qu'il vos aime, n'en doutez mie,
de bone amor sanz vilenie.
Et s'il a autre chose tant,
96ne m'en desclost il mie tant.
However, before accepting the present, Fair Welcoming asked who had sent it to him; he was afraid that it could have come from a place such that he would not wish to keep it. The Duenna, without telling any other tales, told him the whole truth: 'It's the young man you know and of whom you have heard so much talk, the one on whose account the late Foul Mouth made you suffer so greatly when he placed all the blame on you. May his soul not go to paradise! He has brought woe to many a good man. Now that the devils have carried him off and he is dead, we have escaped him, and I would snub at all his chatter as I would at two apples. We are free of him forever. Even if he could return to life now, he could not harm us, however skillful he might be at putting blame on you, for I know more about that game than he ever did. Believe me now and take this chaplet and wear it, and comfort the young man at least as much in return, since he loves you, do not doubt it, with good, not base love. And if he intends anything else, he did not disclose much of it to me.
Mes bien nous i poon fier11:
vos li resavrez12 bien nier
s'il requiert chose qu'il ne doive :
100s'il fet folie, si la boive.
Si n'est il pas fox, ainz est sages,
onc par lui ne fu fez outrages,
don je le pris mieuz et si l'ains ;
104n'il ne sera pas si vilains
qu'il de chose vos requeïst
qui a requerre ne feïst.
Leaus est seur touz ceus qui vivent.
108Cil qui sa compaignie sivent
l'en ont torjorz porté tesmoign,
et je meïsmes le tesmoign.
Mout est de meurs bien ordenez;
112onq ne fu hons de mere nez
qui de li nul mal entendist,
fors tant con Male Bouche en dist,
s'a l'en ja tout mis en oubli.
116Je meïsmes par poi l'oubli,
ne me sovient nes13 des paroles,
fors qu'eus furent fausses et foles,
et li lierres les controva,
120que onques bien ne se prova.
Certes bien sai que mort l'eüst
li vallez, se riens en seüst,
qu'il est preuz et hardiz sanz faille.
124En cest pais n'a qui le vaille,
tant a le queur plein de noblece,
et seurmonteroit de largece
But we can indeed have confidence in him: for your part, you know very well how to deny him if he asks anything that he ought not to. If he commits folly, let him drink it; and if he is not foolish, then he is wise. Since he has never committed any outrageous acts, I esteem him more and love him for it. He will never be so base as to demand anything of you that he should not demand. He is more loyal than any living person: those who keep his company are my witnesses, and I am witness to it as well. In his manners he is very orderly; there is no man born of a mother who ever heard any evil of him, except what Foul Mouth told of him. But all that has been forgotten. I myself have gradually forgotten it; I don't even remember the statements, except that they were false and wild and that the thief invented them and proved none of them. Indeed, I know well that the young man, since he is valiant and brave without fail, would have killed him, if he had known anything of it. His heart is so noble that there is no one in this country worth as much as he is.
le roi Artu, voire Alixandre,
128s'il eüst autant a despandre
d'or et d'argent conme cil orent;
onques tant cil14 doner ne sorent
que cist ·c· tanz plus ne donast :
132par dons tout le monde estonast
se d'avoir eüst tel planté,
tant a bon queur en sai planté ;
nou peut nus de largece aprendre.
136Or vos lo ce chapel a prendre,
don les fleurs eulent mieuz que basme.
- Par foi, j'en creindroie avoir blasme',
fet Belaqueull, qui touz fremist
140et tremble, et tressaut, et gemist,
roigist, palist, pert contenance.
Et la vielle es poinz le li lance
et li veust fere a force prendre,
144car cil n'i osoit la main tendre,
ainz dist, por soi mieuz escuser,
que mieuz le li vient refuser.
Si le vossist il ja tenir,
148que que l'en deüst avenir.
'Mout est biaus, fet il, li chapeaus,
mes mieuz me vendroit mes drapeaus
avoir touz ars et mis en cendre
152que de par lui l'osasse prendre.
Mes or soit posé que jou praigne,
a Jalousie la riaigne
que porrions nous ore dire?
156Bien sai qu'el enragera d'ire
In largesse, he would surpass King Arthur, indeed, Alexander. If he had had as much gold and silver to spend as they had, he would have given one hundred times more. He has such a good heart in him that his gifts would have astonished the whole world if he had had such plenty of possessions. No one can teach him about largesse. Now I advise you to take this chaplet, whose flowers smell sweeter than balm.'
'By my Faith, I would be afraid of being blamed,' said Fair Welcoming who was very agitated, trembled, started, and sighed; he blushed, then grew pale and lost countenance. The Duenna thrust the chaplet into his hands and wanted to force him to take it, for he dared not stretch out his hand for it, but said, the better to excuse himself, that it would be better for him to refuse it. However, he wanted to hold it, whatever might happen.
'The chaplet is very beautiful,' he said, 'but I would rather that all my clothes were burned to ashes than that I dared take it from him. Now suppose that I took it: what could we then say to Jealousy the quarrelsome? I know well that she will be filled with rage
et seur mon chief le descierra
piece a piece, et puis m'ocierra,
s'el set qu'il soit de la venuz ;
160ou seré pris et pis tenuz
qu'onques en ma vie ne fui;
ou,15 se je li eschape e fui,
quel part m'en porré je foïr?
164Tout vif me verrez enfoïr,
se je sui pris enprés la fuite ;
si croi je que j'avroie suite,
si seroie pris en fuiant,
168touz li mondes m'iroit huiant.
Nou prendrai pas. — Si ferez, certes.
Ja n'en avrez blasmes ne pertes.
— Et s'ele m'enquiert don ce vint ?
172— Responses avrez plus de ·xx·.
— Toutevois, se le16 me demande,
que puis je dire a sa demande ?
Se j'en sui blasmez ne repris,
176ou diré je que je le pris ?
Car il le me convient repondre,
ou quelque mençonge respondre.
S'el le savoit, ce vos plevis,
180mieuz vodroie estre morz que vis.
— Que vos direz? Se nou17 savez,
se meilleur response n'avez,
dites que je le vous doné.
184Bien savez que tel renon é
que n'avrez blasme ne vergoigne
de riens prendre que je vos doigne.
and will tear it to pieces on my head and then kill me if she knows that it may have come from there; or I will be taken and held prisoner worse than I ever was in my life; or, if I escape from her and flee, where could I flee? You will see me buried alive if I am ever taken after my flight. I believe that, if I were caught in the act of fleeing, action would be brought against me. I will not accept the chaplet.'
'Yes, you will, certainly. You will have neither blame nor loss.'
'And what if she asks me where it came from?'
'You have more than twenty replies.'
'All the same, if she asks me, what can I say in response to her question? If I am accused or reprimanded for it, where shall I say that I got it? For I shall have to hide or tell some lie. If she knew, I guarantee you that I would be better off dead than alive.'
'What shall you say? If you don't know what, if you have no better reply, say that I gave it to you. You know well that my reputation is such that you will reap no accusation or shame for taking anything that I might give you.'
Belacueill, sanz dire autre chose,
188le chapel prent et si le pose
seur ses crins blons et s'aseüre,
et la vielle li rit et jure
s'ame, son cors, ses os, sa pel
192qu'onc ne li sist si bien chapel.
Belacueill sovent le remire,
dedanz son miroër se mire
savoir s'il est si18 bien seanz.
Fair Welcoming, without saying anything else, took the chaplet, put it on his blond hair, and reassured himself. The Duenna laughed and swore by her soul, her body, her bones and skin that no chaplet was ever so becoming on him. Fair Welcoming, admiring himself in his mirror, looked at it often to see how becoming it was.
196Quant la vielle voit que leanz
n'avoit fors eus ·ii· seulement,
lez lui s'assiet tot belement,
si li conmence a preeschier :
200'Ha, Belacueill, tant vos é chier,
tant iestes biaus19 et tant valez!
Mi tens jolis est toz alez,
et li vostres est a venir.
204Poi me porré mes soutenir
fors a baston ou a potance.
Vos iestes oncore en enfance,
si ne savez que vos ferez,
208mes bien sai que vos passerez,
quan que ce soit, ou tost ou tart,
par mi la flambe qui tout art,
et vous baignerez en l'estuve20
212ou Venus les dames estuve.
Bien sai, le brandon sentiroiz ;
or vos la21 que vos atiroiz,
ainz que la vos ailliez baignier,
216si con vos m'orrez ensaignier,
When the Duenna saw that there was no one except for the two of them, she sat down quite properly next to him and began to preach to him: 'Ah, Fair Welcoming, how very dear you are to me! How beautiful you are, and how worthy! My happy time is all gone, and yours is still to come. I shall hardly be able to hold myself up except with a stick or crutch, but you are still in your childhood. You do not know what you will be doing, but I know very well that, sooner or later, whenever it may be, you will pass through the flame that burns everyone, and that you will bathe in the same steam-room where Venus stews the ladies. I know that you will feel her burning brand. I advise you that, before you go to bathe, you prepare yourself as you shall hear me teach you,
car perilleusement s'i22 baigne
jennes hon qui n'a qui l'ensaigne.
Mes se mon conseill ensivez,
220a bon port iestes arivez.
Sachiez, se je fusse ausinc sage,
quant j'estoie de vostre aage,
des geus d'amors con je suis ores
224car de trop grant biauté fui lores,
mes or m'esteut pleindre et gemir,
quant mon vis effacié remir
et voi que froncir le covient,
228quant de ma biauté me sovient
qui ces vallez fesoit triper ;
tant les fesoie defriper
que ce n'iert se merveille non ;
232trop iere lors de grant renon,
partout coroit la renomee
de ma grant biauté renomee,
tele alé avoit en ma meson
236qu'onques tele ne vit mes hon,
moult iert mes huis la nuit hurtez,
trop leur fesoie de durtez
quant leur failloie de covent,
240et ce m'avenoit trop23 sovent,
car j'avoie autre compaignie ;
fete en estoit mainte folie,
dom j'avoie corroz assez,
244sovent en iert mes huis quassez
et fetes maintes tex mellees
qu'ainceis qu'eus fussent demellees
for a young man who has no one to teach him goes there to bathe at his peril. Then, if you follow my advice, you will arrive in a good harbor.
Know then, that if only, when I was your age, I had been as wise about the games of love as I am now! For then I was a very great beauty, but now I must complain and moan when I look at my face, which has lost its charms; and I see the inevitable wrinkles whenever I remember how my beauty made the young men skip. I made them struggle so much that it was nothing short of a marvel. I was very famous then; word of my highly renowned beauty ran everywhere. At my house there was a crowd so big that no man ever saw the like. At night they knocked on my door: I was very cruel with them when I failed to keep my promises, which happened very often, for I had other company. They did many a foolish thing at which I got quite angry. Often my door was broken down, and many of them got into such battles as a result of their hatred and envy that
menbres i perdoient et vies
248par haïnes et par envies,
tant i avenoit de contanz ;
se mestre Algus,24 li bien contanz,
i voussist bien metre ses cures
252et venist o ses ·x· figures
par quoi tout certefie et nombre,
si ne peüst il pas le nombre
des granz contanz certefier
256tant seüst bien monteplier ;
lors iert mes cors forz et delivres
j'eüsse or plus vaillant ·m· livres
de blans estellins que je n'ai.
260Mes trop nicement me menai.
Bele iere, et jenne et nice et fole,
n'onc ne fui d'Amors a escole
ou l'en leüst la theorique,
264mes je sai tout par la practique.
Experimenz m'en ont fet sage,
que j'ai hantez tout mon aage ;
or en sai jusqu'a la bataille,
268si n'est pas droiz que je vos faille
des biens aprendre que je sai,
puis que tant esprovez les ai.
Bien fet qui jennes genz conseille.
272Sanz faille, ce n'est pas merveille
s'ou25 n'en savez quartier ne aune,
car vos avez trop le bec jaune.
Mes tant a que je ne finé
276que la sciance en la fin é,
before they were separated they lost their members and their lives. If master Algus, the great calculator, had wanted to take the trouble and had come with his ten figures, by which he certifies and numbers everything, he could not, however well he knew how to calculate, have ascertained the number of these great quarrels. Those were the days when my body was strong and active! As I say, if I had been as wise then as I am now, I would possess the value of a thousand pounds of sterling silver more than I do now, but I acted too foolishly.
I was beautiful, and young, foolish and wild, and had never been to a school of love where they read in the theory, but I know everything by practice. Experience has made me wise in love, which I have chased my whole life. Since I know everything about it now, right down to the battle, it would not be right if I were to fail to teach you the good things I know and have often experienced. He who gives advice to the young does well. Without fail, it is no wonder that you know nothing, for your beak is too yellow.
But, in the end, I have so much knowledge about which I can lecture from a chair that I could never finish.
don bien puis en chaiere lire.
Ne fet a foïr n'a despire
tout ce qui est en grant aage,
280la treuve l'en sen et usage ;
ç'é l'en bien esprové de maint
qu'au mains en la fin leur remaint
usage et sen pour le cheté,
284conbien qu'il l'aient acheté.
Et puis que j'oi sen et usage;
que je n'oi pas sanz grant domage,
maint vaillant home ai deceü,
288quant en mes laz le tench cheü ;
mes ainz fui par mainz deceüe
que je me fusse aperceüe.
Ce fu trop tart, lasse dolante !
292G'iere ja hors de ma jovante ;
mes huis, qui ja souvent ovroit,
car par jour et par nuit26 ovroit,
se tint adés pres du lintier :
296'Nus n'i vient hui ne n'i vint hier,
pensae je, lasse chetive !
En tristeur esteut que je vive.'
De deul me27 due li queurs partir ;
300lors me vols du pais partir
quant vi mon huis en tel repos,
et je meïsmes me repos,
car ne poi la honte endurer.
304Conment poïsse je durer,
quant cil jolif vallet venoient,
qui ja si chiere me tenoient
One should not avoid or despise everything that is very old; there one finds good sense and good custom. Many have proved often that, however much they have acquired, in the end, at least their good sense and good custom will remain. And since I had good sense and good custom, I have deceived many a worthy man when he fell captive in my nets, not without great harm to me. And I was deceived by many before I became aware of it. Then it was too late, o great misery! I was already past my youth. My door, which formerly was often open, both night and day, stayed constantly near its sill: 'No one is coming today, no one came yesterday,' I thought, 'unhappy wretch! I must live in sorrow.' My woeful heart should have left me. When I saw my door, and even myself, at such repose, I wanted to leave the country, for I couldn't endure the shame. How could I stand it when those handsome young men came along,
qu'il ne s'en poaient lasser,
308et ges voaie trespasser,
qu'il me regardoient de coste,
et jadis furent mi chier oste ?
Lez moi s'en aloient saillant28
312sanz moi prisier ·i· euf vaillant.
Neis cil qui plus jadis m'amoient
vielle ridee me clamoient,
et pis disoit chascuns assez
316ainz qu'il s'en fust outre passez.
D'autre part, mes enfes gentis,
nus, se trop n'iert bien ententis,
ou granz deaus essaiez n'avroit,
320ne penseroit ne ne savroit
quel doleur au queur me tenoit29
quant en pensant me sovenoit
des biaus diz, des douz aesiers,
324des douz deduiz, des douz besiers
et des tres douces acolees
qui s'en ierent si tost volees.
Volees ? voire, et sanz retour !
328Mieuz me venist en une tour
estre a torjorz enprisonee
que d'avoir esté si tost nee.
Dex ! en quel soussi me metoient
332li biau don qui failli m'estoient !
Et ce qui remés leur estoit,
en quel torment me remestoit !
Lasse! por quoi si tost naqui ?
336A qui m'en puis je pleindre, a qui,
"those who formerly had held me so dear that they could not tire themselves of me, and I saw them look at me sideways as they passed by, they who had once been my dear guests? They went by near me, bounding along without counting me worth an egg, even those who had loved me most; they called me a wrinkled Duenna and worse before they had passed on by.
Besides, my pretty child, no one, unless he were very attentive or had experienced great sorrows, would think or know what grief gripped my heart when in my thought I remembered the lovely speeches, the sweet caresses and pleasures, the kisses and the deeply delightful embraces that flew away so soon. Flew away? It is true and without return. I would have been better off to be imprisoned in a tower forever than to have been born so early. God! Into what torment was I put by the fair gifts which had failed me, and how wretched their remnants had made me! Alas! Why was I born so early? To whom can I complain,
fors a vos, filz, que j'ai tant chier ?
Ne m'en puis autrement vanchier
que par aprendre ma doctrine.
340Por ce, biaus filz, vos endoctrine
que, quant endoctrinez seroiz,
des ribaudiaus me vancheroiz ;
car, se Dex plest, quant la vendra,
344de cest sarmon vos souvendra.
Car sachiez que du retenir
si qu'il vos en puist sovenir
avez vos mout grant avantage
348par la reson de vostre aage,
car Platon dit : 'C'est chose voire,
que plus tenable est la mémoire
de ce qu'en aprent en enfance,
352de quiconques soit la sciance.'
Certes, chiers filz, tendre jovente,
se ma jenece fust presente
si con est la vostre orendroit,
356ne porroit estre escrite en droit
la venjance que j'en preïsse.
Par touz les leus ou je venisse
je feïsse tant de merveilles
360c'onques n'oïstes les parailles
des ribauz qui si poi me prisent
et me ledangent et despisent30
et si vilment lez moi s'en passent.
364Et il et autre comparassent
leur grant orgueill et leur despit,
sanz prendre en pitié ne respit ;
to whom except you, son, whom I hold so dear? I have no other way to avenge myself than by teaching my doctrine. Therefore, fair son, I instruct you so that, when instructed, you will avenge me on those scoundrels; for if it pleases God, he will remind you of this sermon when the time comes. You must know that, thanks to your age, you have a very great advantage in retaining the sermon so that you will remember it. As Plato said: 'It is true that one retains better the knowledge one acquired during childhood, no matter what that knowledge might be.'
Certainly, dear son, my tender young one, if I had my youth, as you do now, the vengeance that I would take on them could not rightly be written. Everywhere I would go I would work such wonders with those scoundrels, who valued me so lightly and who vilified and despised me when they so basely passed by near me, that one would never have heard the like. They and others would pay for their pride and spite; I would have no pity on them.
car au sen que Dex m'a doné,
368si con je vos ai sarmoné,
savez en quel point ges31 meïsse ?
Tant les plumasse et tant preïsse
du leur, de tort et de travers,
372que mengier les feïsse a vers
et gesir touz nuz es fumiers,
meesmement ceus les prumiers
qui de plus leal queur m'amassent
376et plus volentiers se penassent
de moi servir et honorer.
Ne leur lessasse demorer
vaillant ·i· aill, se je peüsse,
380que tout en ma borse n'eüsse.
A povreté touz les meïsse
et touz enprés moi les feïsse
par vive rage tripeter.
384Mes riens n'i vaut le regreter ;
qui est alé ne peut venir.
James n'en porré nul tenir,
car tant ai ridee la face
388qu'il n'ont garde de ma menace.
Pieça que bien le me disoient
li ribaut qui me despisoient,
si me pris a plorer des lores.
392Par Dieu, si me plest il oncores
quant je m'i sui32 bien porpensee ;
mout me delite en ma pensee
et me resbaudissent li menbre
396quant de mon bon tens me remembre
For with the intelligence that God has given me – just as I have preached to you – do you know what condition I would put them in? I would so pluck them and seize their possessions, even wrongly and perversely, that I would make them dine on worms and lie naked on dunghills, especially and first of all those who loved me with a more loyal heart and who more willingly took trouble to serve and honor me. If I could, I wouldn't leave them anything worth one bud of garlic until I had everything in my purse and had put them all into poverty; I would make them stamp their feet in living rage behind me. But to regret it is worth nothing; what has vanished cannot return. I would never be able to keep any man, for my face is so wrinkled that they cannot protect themselves against my threat. A long time ago the scoundrels who despised me told me so, and from that time on I took to weeping. By God! Yet, it still pleases me when I think back. I rejoice in my thought and my limbs become nimble again when I remember the good times and the gay life for which my heart so strongly yearns.
et de la jolivete vie
dom mes queurs a si grant envie ;
tout me rejovenist le cors
400quant g'i pens et quant jou recors ;
touz les biens du monde me fet
quant me souvient de tout le fet,
qu'au mains ai je ma joie eüe,
404conbien qu'il m'aient deceüe.
Jenne dame n'est pas oiseuse
quant el maine vie joieuse,
meesmement cele qui pense
408d'aquerre33 a fere sa despense.
Lors m'en vign en ceste contree,
ou j'ai vostre dame encontree,
qui ci m'a mise en son servise
412por vos garder en sa porprise.
Diex, qui sires est et tout garde,
doint que je34 face bone garde!
Si feré je certainement
416par vostre biau contenement.
Mes la garde fust perilleuse
por la grant biauté merveilleuse
que Nature a dedanz vos mise,
420s'el ne vos eüst tant aprise
proëce, et35 sen, valeur et grace ;
et par36 ce que tens et espace
nous est or si venu a point
424que de destorbier n'i a point
de dire quan que nous volons
un poi mieuz que nous ne solons,
Just to think of it and to remember it all rejuvenates my body. Remembering all that happened gives me all the blessings of the world, so that however they may have deceived me, at least I have had my fun. A young lady is not idle when she leads a gay life, especially she who thinks about acquiring enough to take care of her expenses.
Then I came to this country, where I met your lady, who has put me in her service to guard you in her enclosure. May God, the lord and guardian of all, grant that I may do a good job of it! With your fair conduct, I shall certainly do so! But to guard you would have been perilous because of the wondrously great beauty that Nature has given you, if she had not taught you so many abilities, so much good sense, worth, and grace. Now that time and space allow us to say, without disturbance, whatever we want, a little more than usual,
tout vos dai je conseillier,
428ne vos devez pas merveillier
se ma parole ·i· poi recop.
Je vos di bien avant le cop,
ne vos veill pas en amor metre,
432mes, s'ous en volez entremetre,
je vos moutreré37 volentiers
et les chemins38 et les sentiers
par ou je deüsse estre alee
436ainz que ma biauté fust alee.'
Lors se test la vielle et soupire
par oïr que cil vodroit dire ;
mes n'i va gueres atendant,
440car, quant le voit bien entendant
a escouter et a soi tere,
a son propos se prent a trere
et se pense : 'Sanz contredit,
444tout otroie qui mot ne dit ;
quant tout li plest a escouter,
tout puis39 dire sanz riens douter.'
I must advise you completely, and you should not wonder if I interrupt my talk a little. I must tell you right away that I have no intention to make you fall in love, but if you want to get involved with it, I will gladly show the roads and the paths by which I should have traveled before my beauty had gone.
Then the Duenna grew quiet and sighed, to hear what he wanted to say, but she did not delay much; for, when she saw that he was being careful to listen to her and remain quiet, she took up her subject again, thinking, 'Whoever says nothing agrees to everything. Since he is pleased to hear all that I say, I can say everything without fear.'
Lors a reconmencié40 sa verve
448et dist, con fausse vielle et serve,
qui me cuida par ses doctrines
fere lechier miel sus espines
quant vost que fusse amis clamez
452sanz estre par amors amez,
si con cil puis me raconta
qui tout retenu le conte a ;
car s'il fust tex qu'il la creüst,
456certainement trahi m'eüst ;
Then she resumed her long-winded speech and spoke like a false and servile Duenna. She thought by her doctrine to make me lick honey from thorns, when she wanted me to be called friend without being loved with love. Thus Fair Welcoming, who remembered the whole story, told me afterward. For, if he had been such that he believed her, he would certainly have betrayed me;
mes por riens nule qu'el deïst41
tel traïson ne me feïst :
ce me fiançoit et juroit,
460autrement ne m'aseüroit.
'Biau tres douz filz, bele char tendre,
des geus d'Amors vos veill aprendre,
que vos n'i saiez deceüz
464quant vos les avrez receüz ;
selonc mon art vos conformez,
car nus, s'il n'est bien enformez,
nes peut passer sanz beste vendre.
468Or pensez d'oïr et d'entendre
et de metre tout a memoire,
car j'en sai trestoute l'estoire.42
but he committed no betrayal toward me for anything that she said. He so gave me his oath; he assured me thus.
'O fair, most sweet son,' said the Duenna, 'O beautiful tender flesh, I wish to teach you of the games of Love so that when you have learned them you will not be deceived. Conduct yourself according to my art [of love], for no one who is not well informed can pass through this training without selling his animals. Now give your attention to hearing and understanding, and to remembering everything that I say, for I know the whole story.
Biau filz, qui veust joïr d'amer,
472des douz maus qui tant sunt amer,
les conmandemenz d'Amors sache,
mes gart qu'Amors a soi nou sache.
Et ci tretouz les vos deïsse,
476se certainement ne veïsse
que vos en avez par nature
de chascun a comble mesure
quan que vos en devez avoir.
480De ceus que vos devez savoir
·x· an i a, qui bien les nonbre;
mes mout est fos cil qui s'amcombre
des ·ii· qui sunt au darrenier,
484qui ne valent ·i· faus denier.
Bien vos en abandon les .viii.,
mes qui des autres ·ii· le suit,
Fair son, whoever wants to take delight in love and its sweet ills which are so bitter must know the commandments of Love but must beware that he does not know Love itself. I would tell you all the commandments here, if I did not certainly see that, by nature, you have a full measure of those that you ought to have. Well numbered, there are ten of them that you ought to know. But he who encumbers himself with the last two is a great fool; they are not worth a false penny. I grant you eight of them, but whoever follows Love in the other two
il pert son estuide et s'affole :
488l'en nes doit pas lire en escole.
Trop malement les amanz charge
qui veust qu'amanz ait le queur large
et qu'en ·i· seul leu le doit metre.
492C'est faus texte, c'est fause letre,
ci mant Amors, le filz Venus,
de ce ne le doit croire nus.
Qui l'an croit chier le comparra,
496si con en la fin i parra.
Biau filz, ja larges ne saiez ;
en pluseurs leus le queur aiez,
en ·i· seul leu ja nou metez
500ne nou donez ne ne pretez,
mes vendez le bien chierement
et torjorz par enchierement ;
et gardez que nus qui l'achat
504n'i puisse fere bon achat ;
par riens qu'il dont ja point n'en ait,
mieuz43 s'arde, ou se pende, ou se nait.
Seur toutes riens gardez ces poinz :
508a doner aiez clos les poinz,
et, a prendre, les mains overtes.
Doner est grant folie, certes,
se n'est un poi, par genz atrere,
512quant l'en en cuide son preu fere
ou, par le don, tel chose atendre
qu'en ne le peüt pas mieuz vendre.
Tel doner bien vos habandone ;
516bons est doners ou cil qui done
wastes his study and becomes mad. One should not read them in a school. He who wants a lover to have a generous heart and to put love in only one place has given too evil a burden to lovers. It is a false text, a false message. In it, Love, the son of Venus, lies, and no man should believe him; whoever does will pay dearly, as you will see by the end of my sermon.
Fair son, never be generous; and keep your heart in several places, never in one. Don't give it, and don't lend it, but sell it very dearly and always to the highest bidder. See that he who buys it can never get a bargain: no matter how much he may give, never let him have anything in return; it were better if he were to burn or hang or maim himself. In all cases keep to these points: have your hands closed to giving and open to taking. Certainly, giving is great folly, except giving a little for attracting men when one plans to make them one's prey or when one expects such a return for the gift that one could not have sold it for more. I certainly allow you such giving. The gift is good where he who gives multiplies his gift and profits from it;
son don monteplie et gaaigne.
Qui certains est de sa gaaigne
ne se peut du don repentir ;
520tel don puis je bien consentir.
Emprés, de l'arc et des ·v· fleches,
qui tant sunt plein de bones teches
et tant fierent soutivement,
524trere en savez si sagement
c'onques Amors, li bons archiers,
des fleches que tret li ars chiers
ne trest mieuz, biaus44 filz, que vos fetes,
528qui maintes foiz les avez tretes.
Mes n'avez pas tourjorz seü
quel part li cop en sunt cheü,
car quant l'an tret a la volee,
532tex peut recevoir la colee
don l'archier ne se done garde.
Mes qui vostre maniere esgarde,
si bien savez et trere et tandre
536que ne vos en puis riens aprandre ;
s'an repeut estre tex navrez
dom grant preu, se Dieu plest, avrez.
Si n'esteut ja que je m'atour
540de vos aprendre de l'atour
des robes ne des garnemenz
dom vos ferez voz paremenz
por sembler ans genz mieuz valoir,
544n'il ne vos en peut ja chaloir,
quant par queur la chançon savez
que tant oï chanter45 m'avez,
he who is certain of his profit cannot repent of his gift. I can indeed consent to such a gift.
Next, about the bow and the five arrows which are very full of good qualities and which wound so readily, know how to fire them so wisely that Love, the good archer, never drew a better bow, fair son, than do you, who have many times launched your arrows. But you have not always known where the blow has fallen, for when one fires into the pack, the shot may hit someone for whom the archer does not care. But, whoever considers your manner, you know so well how to draw a bow and how to stretch nets that I can teach you nothing about it. With your ability, you can wound a person such that, if it pleases God, your prize will be magnificent.
It is equally unnecessary for me to bother teaching you about decorating your garments or about the baubles of which you will make your ornaments, so that you will seem worth more to men. Such tutelage can never be important to you when you know by heart the song that you have heard me sing so often,
si con joer nous alion,
548de l'ymage Pimalion.
La prenez garde a vos parer,
s'an saurez plus que beuf d'arer.
De vos aprendre ces mestiers
552ne vos est il mie mestiers.
Et se ce ne vos peut soffire,
aucune chose m'orrez dire
ça avant, s'ous46 volez atandre,
556ou bien porrez example prandre.
Mes itant vos puis je bien dire,
se vos ami volez eslire,
bien la que vostre amor soit mise
560ou biau vallet qui tant vos prise,
mes n'i soit pas trop fermement.
Amez des autres sagement,
et je vos en querroi assez,
564dom granz avoir iert amassez.
Bon acointier fet homes riches,
s'il n'ont les queurs avers et chiches,
s'il est qui bien plumer les sache.
568Belacueill quan qu'il veut en sache,
por qu'il doint a chascun entendre
qu'il ne voudrait autre ami prendre
por ·m· mars de fin or molu,
572et jurt que, s'il eüst volu
soffrir, que par autre fust prise
sa rose, qui bien est requise,
d'or fust chargiez et de joiaus ;
576mes tant est ses fins queur loiaus
when we went out to play, about Pygmalion's statue. Take care to adorn yourself, and you will know more about it than an ox about plowing. There is no need for you to learn these trades. And if all this will not suffice, you will hear me say something later, if you are willing to listen, from which you will be able to take an example. But I can tell you this much: if you want to choose a lover, I advise you to give your love, but not too firmly, to that fair young man who so prizes you. Love others wisely, and I will seek out for you enough of them so that you can amass great wealth. It is good to become acquainted with rich men, if their hearts are not mean and miserly and if one knows how to pluck them well. Fair Welcoming may know whomever he wishes, provided that he gives each one to understand that he would not want to take another lover for a thousand marks of fine milled gold. He should swear that if he had wanted to allow his rose, which was in great demand, to be taken by another, he would have been weighed down with gold and jewels. He should say that his pure heart was so loyal
que ja nus la main n'i tendra
fors cil seus qui lors la tendra.
S'il sunt mil, a chascun doit dire :
580'La rose avrez touz seus, biau sire,
james autre n'i aura part.
Faille47 moi Dex se ja la part!'
Ce leur jurt et sa foi leur baille.
584S'il48 se parjure, ne li chaille ;
Dex se rit de tel serement
et le pardone lieement.
Jupiter et li dieu riaient
588quant li amant se parjuraient,
et maintes foiz se parjurerent
li dieu qui par amours amerent.
Quant Jupiter asseüroit
592Juno sa fame, il li juroit
la palu d'enfer hautement,
et se parjuroit faussement.
Ce devroit mout asseürer
596les fins amanz de parjurer
saintes et sainz, moustiers et tamples,
quant li dieu leur donent examples.
Mes mout est fos, se Dex m'amant,
600qui par49 jurer croit nul amant,
car il ont trop les queurs muables.
Jennes genz ne sunt point estables,
non sunt li viell sovante foiz,
604ainz mentent seremenz e foiz.
Et sachiez une chose vaire :
cil qui sires est de la faire
that no man would ever stretch out his hand for it except that man alone who was offering his hand at that particular moment.
If there are a thousand, he should say to each: 'Fair lord, you alone will have the rose; no one else will ever have a part. May God fail me if I ever divide it.' He may so swear and pledge his faith to them. If he perjures himself, it doesn't matter; God laughs at such an oath and pardons it gladly.
Jupiter and the gods laughed when lovers perjured themselves; and many times the gods who loved out of love perjured themselves. When Jupiter reassured his wife Juno, he swore by the Styx to her in a loud voice and falsely perjured himself. Since the gods give such examples, they should assure pure lovers that they too may swear falsely by all the saints, convents, and temples. But he is a great fool, so help me God, who believes in the oaths of lovers, for their hearts are too fickle. Young men are in no way stable – nor, often times, are the old – and therefore they belie the oaths and faith that they have given.
Know another truth: he who is lord of the fair
doit prendre par tout50 son toulin ;
608et qui ne peut a un moulin,
hez a l'autre tretout le cours !
Moult a soriz povre secours
et fet en grant perill sa druige
612qui n'a q'un pertuis a refuige.
Tout ausinc est il de la fame,
qui de touz les marchiez est dame
que chascun fet par51 lui avoir :
616prendre doit par tout de l'avoir,
car mout avroit fole pensee,
quant bien se serait porpensee,
s'el ne voloit ami que ·i· ;
620car, par seint Lifart de Meün,
qui s'amor en un seul leu livre
n'a pas son queur franc ne delivre,
ainz l'a malement asservi.
624Bien a tel fame deservi
qu'ele ait assez ennui et peine
qui d'un seul home amer se peine.
S'el faut a celui de confort,
628el n'a nullui qui la confort ;
et ce sunt ceus qui plus i faillent
qui leur queurs en un seul leu baillent.
Tuit en la fin toutes les fuient,
632quant las en sunt et s'en ennuient.
N'am52 peut fame a bon chief venir.
Onc ne pot Enee tenir
Dydo, reïne de Cartage,
636qui tant li ot fet d'avantage
should collect his market-toll everywhere; and he who cannot at one mill should quickly run to the next. The mouse who has but one hole for retreat has a very poor refuge and makes a very dangerous provision for itself. It is just so with a woman: she is the mistress of all the markets, since everyone labors to have her. She should take possessions everywhere. If, after she had reflected well, she wanted only one lover, she would have a very foolish idea. For, by Saint Lifard of Meun, whoever gives her love in a single place has a heart neither free nor unencumbered, but basely enslaved. Such a woman, who takes trouble to love one man alone, has indeed deserved to have a full measure of pain and woe. If she lacks comfort from him, she has no one to comfort her, and those who give their hearts in a single place are those who most lack comfort. In the end, when they are bored or irritated, all these men flee from their women.
No woman can come to a good end. Dido, the queen of Carthage, could not hold Aeneas, no matter how much she had done for him;
que povre l'avoit receü
et revestu et repeü,
las et fuitif du biau païs
640de Troie, dom il fu naïs.
Ses compaignons mout honorot,
car en lui trop grant amor ot ;
644fist li ses nés toutes refere
por lui servir et por lui plere,53
dona lui por s'amor avoir
sa cité, son cors, son avoir ;
648et cil si l'en asseüra,
qu'il li promist et li jura
que siens ert et tourjorz seroit
ne james ne la lesseroit ;
652mes cele guieres n'an joï,
car li traïstres s'en foï
sanz congié, par mer, en navie,
don la bele perdi la vie,
656qu'el s'en ocist ainz l'andemain
de l'espee, o54 sa propre main,
qu'il li ot donee, en sa chambre.
Dydo, qui son ami remanbre
660et voit que s'amour a perdue,
l'espee prent, et toute nue
la drece en contremont la pointe,
souz ses ·ii· mameles l'apointe,55
664seur le glaive se let choair.
Mout fust grant pitiez a voair,
qui tel fet56 fere li veïst;
dur fust qui pitiez n'en preïst,
she had received him poor, a wretched fugitive from the fair land of Troy, his birthplace, and had reclothed and fed him. Because of her great love for him, she honored his companions and, to serve and please him, had his ships rebuilt. To obtain his love, she gave him her city, her body, her possessions; and he so reassured her in turn that he promised and swore to her that he was and would forever be hers and would never leave her. She, however, had no joy of him, for the betrayer, without permission, fled by sea in his ships. As a result, the beautiful Dido lost her life. The next day, she killed herself in her chamber with the sword that he had given her in her own hand. Remembering her lover and seeing that she had lost her love, Dido, completely naked, raised its point upward and placed it under her two breasts, then let herself fall on it. It was a great pity to see, whoever saw her do such a deed. He would have been a hard man who was not touched by pity
668quant si veïst Dydo la bele
seur la pointe de l'alumele.
Par mi le cors la se ficha,
tel deul ot don cil la tricha.
Phillis ausint tant atendi
Demophon qu'ele s'en pendi
por le terme qu'il trespassa,
dom serement et foi quassa.
Que fist Paris de Oenoné,
qui queur et cors li rot doné,
et cil s'amor li redona ?
Tantost retolu le don a,
680si l'an ot il en l'arbre escrites
a son coustel letres petites
desus la rive57 en leu de chartre
qui ne valurent une tartre.
684Ces letres en l'escorce estoient
D'un poplier, et representoient
que Xantus s'en retourneroit
si tost con il la lesseroit.
688Or raut58 Xantus a sa fonteine,
Qu'il la lessa puis por Heleine!
Que refist Jason de Medee,
qui si vilmant refu boulee
692que li faus sa foi li manti
puis qu'el l'ot de mort garanti,
quant des toreaus qui feu gitoient
par leur gueules et qui venoient
696Jason ardoir ou depecier,
sanz feu santir et sanz blecier
when he thus saw the beautiful Dido on the tip of the blade. Her sorrow over him who tricked her was so great that she ran the blade through her body.
Phyllis, too, waited so long for Demophoon that she hanged herself because he overstayed the time when he was to return and thus broke both his oath and his faith.
What did Paris do with Oenone? She had given him her heart and her body, and he gave his love in return. But straightway he took back his gift. For on a tree by the river, instead of on paper, he had carved with his knife tiny letters that were not worth a tart. They were cut in the bark of a poplar and said that the Xanthus would turn back on itself as soon as he left her. Now the Xanthus may return to its source, for afterward he left her for Helen.
Again, what did Jason do with Medea? He deceived her shamefully, the false one, when he belied his faith to her after she had saved him from death. By means of her spells she delivered Jason from the bulls who shot fire from their mouths and who came to burn him or smash him to bits; he felt no fire and was not even wounded.
par ses charmes le delivra,
et le sarpant li enivra
700si qu'onc59 ne se pot esveillier,
tant le fist formant someillier ?
Des chevaliers de terre nez,
bataillereus et forsenez,
704qui Jason voloient occierre
quant il entr'eus gita la pierre,
fist ele tant qu'il s'entrepristrent
et qu'il meïsmes s'entrocistrent,
708et li fist avoir la toison
par son art et par sa poison.
Puis fist Eson rejovenir
por mieuz Jason a soi tenir,
712ne riens de lui plus ne voloit
fors qu'il l'amast con il soloit
et ses merites regardast
por ce que mieuz sa foi gardast.
716Puis la lessa, li maus trichierres,
li faus, li desloiaus, li lierres ;
don ses enfanz, quant el le sot,
por ce que de Jason les ot,
720estrangla de deul et de rage,
don el ne refist pas que sage
quant el lessa pitié de mere
et fist pis que60 marrastre amere.
724Mil examples dire en savroie,
mes trop grant conte a fere avroie.
She made the serpent drunk so that it could not waken, so soundly did she make it sleep. As for the knights born of the earth, warlike and enraged, who wanted to kill Jason, she worked a spell so that when he threw the stone among them they attacked and killed each other. And it was through her art and her potion that she enabled him to get the Golden Fleece. Later, in order the better to bind Jason to herself, she renewed the youth of Aeson. She wanted nothing from him but that he love her as he had before and that he might look upon her merits so that he might the better keep his faith to her. Then he left her, the evil trickster, the false, disloyal thief, and when she discovered his desertion, she took her children and, because she had had them by Jason, strangled them in her grief and rage. In doing so she did not bear herself wisely; she abandoned a mother's pity and acted worse than an embittered stepmother. I could tell you a thousand examples of the same sort, but I would have too long a story to tell.
Briefment tuit les bolent et trichent,
tuit sunt ribaut, par tout se fichent,
728si les doit l'en ausinc trichier,
non pas son queur an un fichier.
Fole est fame qui si l'a mis,
ainz doit avoir pluseurs amis
732et fere, s'el peut, que tant plese
que touz les mete a grant mesese.
S'el n'a graces, si les aquiere,
et soit tourjorz vers ceus plus fiere
736qui plus, por s'amor deservir,
se peneront de lui servir ;
et de ceus acueillir s'efforce
qui de s'amor ne feront force.
740Sache de geus et de chançons,
et fuie noises et tançons.
S'el n'est bele, si se cointait,
la plus lede atour plus cointe ait.
Et s'ele voait dechoair,
don grant deaus serait a voair,
les biaus crins de sa teste blonde,
ou s'il covient que l'en les tonde
748por aucune grant maladie,
don biautez est tost enledie,
ou s'il avient que par courrouz
les ait aucun ribauz touz rouz
752si que de ceus ne puisse ovrer,
par61 grosses treces recovrer,
face tant que l'en li aporte
cheveus de quelque fame morte,
756ou de saie blonde borreaus,
et boute tout en ses forreaus.
In short, all men betray and deceive women; they are all scoundrels, taking hold anywhere. Therefore, we should deceive them in return, not fix our hearts on only one. Any woman who does so is a fool; she should have several friends and, if possible, please them all in order to make them suffer. If she has no graces, let her learn them. Let her be haughtier toward those who, because of her hauteur, will take more trouble to serve her in order to deserve her love, but let her scheme to take from those who make light of her love. She should know games and songs and flee from quarrels and disputes. If she is not beautiful, she should pretty herself; the ugliest should wear the most coquettish adornments.
And if, to her great sorrow, she should see her beautiful blond curls fall out, or if, because of a serious illness, she has to have them cut off and her beauty spoiled, or if it happens that some roisterer has torn them out in anger so that she can do nothing to recover her long locks, she should have someone bring her a dead woman's hair, or pads of light silk, stuffed into shapes.
Seur ses oreilles port tex cornes
que cers, ne bous, ne unicornes,
760s'il se devoit62 touz effronter,
ne puist ses cornes seurmonter ;
et s'el ont mestier d'estre taintes,
taigne les en jus d'erbes maintes,
764car mout ont forces et mecines
fruit, fust, fuelle, escorce et racines ;
et s'el reperdoit sa couleur,
don mout avroit au queur douleur,
768procurt qu'el ait ointures moestes
en ses chambres, dedanz ses boestes,
tourjorz por sai farder repostes.
Mes bien gart que nus de ses hostes
772nes puist ne santir ne voair :
trop li en porroit meschoair.
S'ele a biau col, et gorge blanche,
gart que cil qui sa robe tranche
776si tres bien la li escolete
que la char pere blanche et nete
demi pié darriers et devant,
s'an iert assez plus decevant.
Et s'ele a trop grosses espaules,
por plere a dances et a baules,
de delïé drap robe port,
si parra de mains let deport.
Et s'el n'a mains beles et netes
ou de sirons ou de bubetes,
gart que lessier ne les i veille,
face les hoster o l'agueille ;
Over her ears she should wear such horns that they could not be surpassed by stag, billy goat, or unicorn, even if it had to wound its forehead; if they need color, she should tint them with plant extracts, for fruits, woods, leaves, bark, and roots have strong medicinal properties. Lest she should suffer loss of complexion, a heartrending experience, she must make sure always to have pots of moistening skin creams in her rooms, so that she may hide away to put on her paint; but she must be very careful not to let any of her guests notice or see her or she would be in trouble.
If she has a lovely neck and white chest, she should see that her dressmaker lower her neckline, so that it reveals a half foot, in front and back, of her fine white flesh; thus she may deceive more easily.
And if her shoulders are too large to be pleasing at dances and balls, she should wear a dress of fine cloth and thus appear less ungainly.
And if, because of insect bites or pimples, she doesn't have beautiful, well-kept hands, she should be careful not to neglect them but should remove the spots with a needle or wear gloves
788ou ses mains en ses ganz repoigne,
si n'i parra bube ne roigne.
Et s'el a trop lordes mameles,
praingne queuvrechiés ou toueles
792don seur le piz se face estraindre
et tout autour ses coustez çaindre,
puis atachier, coudre ou noer,
lors si se peut aler joer.
Et conme bone baisselete,
tiegne la chambre Venus nete.
S'el est preuz et bien enseignie,
ne lest entour nule ireignie
800qu'el n'arde, ou ree, araiche ou housse,
si qu'il63 n'i puisse queullir mousse.
S'ele a lez piez, torjorz les chauce ;
a grosse jambe ait64 tanve chauce.
804Briefment, s'el set seur lui65 nul vice,
couvrir le doit, se mout n'est nice.
S'el set qu'el ait mauvese aleine,
ne li doit estre grief ne peine
808de garder que ja ne jeüne
ne qu'el ne parole jeüne ;
et gart si bien, s'el peut, sa bouche
que pres du nés aus genz n'aprouche.
Et s'il li prent de rire envie,
si sagement et si bel rie
qu'ele descrive ·ii· fossetes
d'ambedeus parz de ses levretes,66
816ne par ris n'enfle trop ses joes
ne nes restraingne par ses moes ;
so that the pimples and scabs will not show.
If her breasts are too heavy she should take a scarf or towel to bind them against her chest wrapping it right around her ribs, securing it with needle and thread or by a knot; thus she can be active at her play.
And like a good little girl she should keep her chamber of Venus tidy. If she is intelligent and well brought up, she will leave no cobwebs around but will burn or destroy them, tear them down and sweep them up, so that no grime can collect anywhere.
If her feet are ugly, she should keep them covered and wear fine stockings, if her legs are large. In short, unless she's very stupid she should hide any defect she is aware of.
For example, if she knows that her breath is foul she should not trouble herself with fasting, and she should never speak to others on an empty stomach, and, if possible, keep her mouth away from people's noses.
When she has the impulse to laugh, she should laugh discreetly and prettily, so that she shows little dimples at the corners of her mouth. She should avoid puffing her cheeks and screwing her face up in grimaces.
ja ses levres par ris ne s'euvrent,
mes repoignent les denz et queuvrent.
820Fame doit rire a bouche close,
car ce n'est mie67 bele chose
quant el rit a gueule estandue,
trop samble estre large et fandue.
Et s'el n'a denz bien ordenees,
mes ledes et sanz ordre nees,
s'el les montroit par sa risee,
mains en porroit estre prisee.
Au plorer rafiert il manière;
mes chascunne est assez manière
de bien plorer en quelque place;
car ja soit ce qu'an ne leur face
832ne griés ne hontes ne molestes,
tourjorz ont eus68 les lermes prestes:
toutes pleurent et plorer seulent
en tel guise conme eles veulent.
Mes hom ne s'en doit ja movoir,
836s'il voait tex lermes plovoir
ausint espés con onque plut ;
qu'onq a fame tex pleurs ne plut,
ne tex deaus ne tex marremenz,
840que ce ne fust conchiemenz.
Pleurs de fame n'est fors aguiet,
lors n'est douleurs qu'ele n'aguiet ;
mes gart que par voiz ne par euvre
844riens de son pansé ne desqueuvre.
Si raffiert bien qu'el soit a table
de contenance convenable.
Her lips should be kept closed and her teeth covered; a woman should always laugh with her mouth closed, for the sight of a mouth stretched like a gash across the face is not a pretty one.
If her teeth are not even, but ugly and quite crooked, she will be less appreciated if the shows them when she laughs.
There is a proper manner to cry. But every woman is adept enough to cry well on any occasion, for, even though the tears are not caused by grief or shame or hurt, they are always ready. All women cry; they are used to crying in whatever way they want.
But no man should be disturbed when he sees such tears flowing as fast as rain, for these tears, these sorrows and lamentations flow only to trick him. A woman's weeping is nothing but a ruse; she will overlook no source of grief. But she must be careful not to reveal, in word or deed, what she is thinking of.
At table, it is suitable to behave properly.
Mes ainz qu'el s'i69 viegne soair,
848face soi par l'ostel voair
et a chascun antandre doigne
qu'ele fet trop bien la besoigne :
aille et viegne avant et arriere
852et s'assiee la darreniere,
et se face ·i· petit atandre
ainz qu'el puisse70 a soair antandre ;
et quant ele iert a table assise,
856face, s'el peut, a touz servise.
Devant les autres doit taillier,
et du pain antour sai baillier,
et doit, por grace deservir,
860devant le compaignon servir
qui doit mengier en s'escuële :
devant lui mete ou cuisse ou ele,
ou beuf, ou porc, devant li taille,
864selonc ce qu'il avront vitaille,
soit de poisson ou soit de char ;
n'ait ja queur de servir echar,
s'il est qui soffrir le li71 vueille.
868Et bien se gart qu'ele ne mueille
ses doiz es broëz jusqu'au jointes
ne qu'el n'ait pas ses lievres ointes
de soupes, d'auz, ne de char grasse,
872ne que trop de morseaus n'antasse
ne trop gros nes72 me te en sa bouche ;
du bout des doiz le morsel touche
qu'el devra73 moillier en la sausse,
876soit vert ou kameline ou jausse,
Before sitting down, she should look around the house and let everyone understand that she herself knows how to run a house. Let her come and go, in the front rooms and in the back, and be the last to sit down, being sure to wait a little before she finally takes her seat. Then, when she is seated at table, she should serve everyone as well as possible. She should carve in front of the others and pass the bread to those around her. To deserve praise, she should serve food in front of the one who shares her plate. She should put a thigh or wing before him, or, in his presence, carve the beef or pork, meat or fish, depending upon what food there happens to be. She should never be miserly in her servings as long as there is anyone unsatisfied. She should not get her fingers wet up to the joint in the sauce, nor have her lips moist with soup, garlic, or fat meat, nor pile up too large morsels and stuffing her mouth. When she has to moisten a piece in any sauce, either sauce verte, cameline, or jauce,
et sagement port sa bouchiee,
que seur son piz goute n'en chiee
de soupe, de saveur, de poevre.74
880Et si sagement redoit boevre
que seur soi n'en espande goute,
car por trop rude ou por trop gloute
l'en porroit bien aucuns tenir
884qui ce li verret avenir,
et gart que ja hanap75 ne touche
tant con el ait morsel en bouche.
Si76 doit si bien sa bouche terdre
888Qu'el n'i lest nule77 gresse aherdre,
au mains en la levre deseure,
car quant gresse en cele demeure,
ou vin en perent les mailletes,
892qui ne sunt ne beles ne netes.
Et boive petit a petit :
conbien qu'ele ait grant appetit,
ne boive pas a une aleine
896ne hanap plain, ne coupe pleine,
ainz boive petit et souvant,
qu'el n'aut les autres esmouvant
a dire que trop an angorge
900ne que trop boive a gloute gorge ;
mes delïeement le coule.
Le bort du hanap trop n'engoule
si conme font maintes norrices,
904qui sunt si gloutes et si nices
qu'el versent vin en gorge creuse
tout ausint conme en une heuse,
she should hold the bit with her fingertips and bring it carefully up to her mouth, so that no drop of soup, sauce, or pepper falls on her breast. She must drink so neatly that she doesn't spill anything on herself, for anyone who happened to see her spill would think her either very clumsy or very greedy. Again, she must take care not to touch her drinking cup while she has food in her mouth. She should wipe her mouth so clean that grease will not stick to the cup, and should be particularly careful about her upper lip, for, when there is grease on it, untidy drops of it will show in her wine. She should drink only a little at a time, however great her appetite, and never empty a cup, large or small, in one breath, but rather drink little and often, so that she doesn't go around causing others to say that she gorges or drinks too much while her mouth is full. She should avoid swallowing the rim of her cup, as do many greedy wet nurses who are so foolish that they pour wine down their hollow throats as if they were casks, who pour it down in such huge gulps that they become completely fuddled and dazed. Now a lady must be careful not to get drunk, for a drunk, man or woman, cannot keep anything secret;
et tant a granz gorz an antonent
908qu'el s'en confondent et estonent.
Et bien se gart qu'el ne s'enivre,
car en home ne en fame ivre
ne peut avoir chose secree ;
912et puis que fame est anivree,
il n'a point en li de deffanse
et78 jangle tout quan qu'ele panse,
et est a touz habandonee
916quant a tel meschief s'est donee.
Et se gart de dormir a table,
trop an seroit mains agraable ;
trop de ledes choses avienent
920a ceus qui tex dormirs maintienent ;
ce n'est pas sens de someillier
es leus establiz a veillier ;
maint en ont esté deceü,
924par maintes foiz an sunt cheü
devant ou darriers ou encoste,
brisant ou braz, ou teste, ou coste :
gart que tex dormirs ne la tiegne.
928De Palinurus li souviegne,
qui governoit la nef Enee ;
veillant l'avoit bien governee,
mes quant dormir l'ot envaï,
932du governaill en mer chaï
et des compaignons naia pres,
qui mout le plorerent aprés.
Si doit la dame prendre garde
936que trop a joer ne se tarde,
and when a woman gets drunk, she has no defenses at all in her, but blurts out whatever she thinks and abandons herself to anyone when she gives herself over to such bad conduct. She must also beware of falling asleep at the table, for she would be much less pleasant; many disagreeable things can happen to those who take such naps. There is no sense in napping in places where one should remain awake, and many have been deceived in this way, or have fallen many times, either forward or backward or sideways, and broken an arm or head or ribs. Let her recall Palinurus, the helmsman of Aeneas's ship. While awake, he steered it well, but when sleep conquered him, he fell from the rudder into the sea and drowned within sight of his companions, who afterward mourned him greatly.
Further, a lady must be careful not to be too reluctant to play, for she might wait around so long
car el porroit bien tant atandre
que nus n'i voudroit la main tandre.
Querre doit d'amors le deduit
940tant con jennece la deduit ;
car quant viellece fame assaut,
d'amors pert la joie et l'assaut.
Le fruiz d'amors, se fame est sage,
944cueille an la fleur de son aage,
car tant pert de son tens,79 la lasse,
con sanz joir d'amors an passe.
Et s'el ne croit ce mien conseill,
948que por conmun profit conseill
sache qu'el s'en repentira
quant viellece la flestira.
Mes bien sai qu'eles m'en creront,
952au mains ceus qui sages seront,
et se tendront aus regles nostres,
et diront maintes paternostres
por m'ame quant je seré morte,
956qui les enseigne ore et conforte ;
car bien sai que ceste parole
sera leüe an mainte escole.
Biau tres douz filz, se vos vivez,
960car bien voi que vos escrivez
ou livre du queur volentiers
touz mes enseignemenz antiers,
et quant de moi departiraiz,
964se Dieu plest, encor an liraiz80
et an seraiz mestres con gié
je vos doign de lire congié,
that no one would want to offer her his hand. She should seek the diversion of love as long as youth deflects her in that direction, for, when old age assails a woman, she loses both the joy and the assault of Love. A wise woman will gather the fruit of love in the flower of her age, for she will lose it with the passing of time, the miserable wretch, without enjoying love. And if she does not believe this advice of mine, which I give for the benefit of all, know that she will regret it when age withers her.
But I know that women will believe me, particularly those who are wise, and will stick to our rules and will say many paternosters for my soul, when I, who now teach and comfort them, am dead. I know that this lesson will be read in many schools.
O fair sweet son, if you live – for I see well that you are writing down in the book of your heart all of my teaching, and that, when you depart from me, you will study more, if it pleases God, and will become a master like me – if you live I confer on you the license to teach,
maugré tretouz les chanceliers,
968et par chambres, et par celiers,
en prez, en jardins, en gaudines,
souz paveillons, et souz courtines,
et d'enformer les escoliers
972par garderobes, et81 soliers,
par despanses et par estables,
s'ous82 n'avez leus plus delitables,
mes que ma leçon soit leüe,
976quant vos l'avrez bien retenue.
Et gart que trop ne sait enclose,
quar, quant plus a l'ostel repose,
mains est de toutes genz veüe
980et sa biauté mains conneüe,
mains couvoitiee et mains requise.
Sovant aille a la mestre iglise
et face visitacions
984a noces, a processions,
a geus, a festes, a queroles,
car en tex leus tient ses escoles
et chante a ses deciples messe
988li dex d'Amors et la deesse.
Mes bien se soit ainceis miree
savoir s'ele est bien atiree.
Et quant a point se sentira
992et par les rues s'en ira,
si soit de beles aleüres,
non pas trop moles ne trop dures,
trop eslevees ne trop corbes,
996mes bien plesanz en toutes torbes.
in spite of all chancellors, in chambers or in cellars, in meadows, gardens, or thickets, under a tent or behind the tapestries, and to inform the students in wardrobes, attics, pantries, and stables, if you find no more pleasant places. And may my lesson be well taught when you have learned it well!
A woman should be careful not to be locked up too much, for while she remains in the house, she is less seen by everybody, her beauty is less well-known, less desired, and less in demand. She should go often to the main church and go visiting, to weddings, on trips, to games, feasts, and carols, for in such places the God and Goddess of Love keep their schools and sing mass to their disciples.
But first, she has to look in the mirror to see whether she is well-dressed. When she is satisfied and goes through the streets, she should carry herself well, neither too stiffly nor too loosely, not too upright nor too bent over, but easily and graciously in any crowd.
She should move her shoulders and sides so elegantly that it is impossible to find anyone with more beautiful movements. And she should walk daintily in her pretty little shoes, so well made that they fit her feet without any wrinkles whatsoever.
Les espaules, les costez meuve
si noblement que l'en n'an treuve
nule de plus biau mouvement,
1000et marche jolivetement
de ses biaus solerez petiz,
que fere avra fet si fetiz
qu'il83 joindront aus piez si a point
1004que de fronce n'i avra point.
Et se sa robe li trahine
ou pres du pavement s'encline,
si la lieve ancoste ou devant
1008si con por prendre un po de vant,
ou por ce que fere le sueille
ausinc con secourcier se vueille
por avoir le pas plus delivre.
1012Lors gart que si le pié delivre
que chascun qui passe la voie
la bele forme du pié voie.
Et s'ele est tex que mantel port,
1016si le doit porter de tel port
qu'il trop la veüe n'anconbre
du bel cors a cui il fet onbre ;
et por ce que li cors mieuz pere,
1020et li teissuz don el se pere,
qui n'iert trop larges ne trop grelles,
d'argent dorez, a menuz pelles,
et l'aumoniere toutevoie,
1024qu'il rest bien droiz que l'an la voie,
a ·ii· mains doit le mantel prandre,
les braz eslargir et estandre,
If her dress drags or hangs down near the pavement, she should raise it on the sides or in front as if to have a little ventilation, or as if she were in the habit of tucking up her gown in order to step more freely. Then she should be careful to let all the passersby see the fine shape of her exposed foot.
And if she is the sort to wear a coat, she should wear it so that it will not too much hinder the view of her lovely body which it covers.
She will want to show off her body and the cloth in which she is dressed, which should be neither too heavy nor too light, with threads of silver and small pearls, and particularly to show off her purse, which should be right out for everyone to see; therefore she should take the coat in both hands and widen and extend her arms,
soit par bele voie ou par boe ;
1028et li souviegne de la roe
que li paons fet de sa queue :
face ausinc du mantel la seue,
si que la penne, ou vere ou grise,
1032ou tel con el l'i avra84 mise,
et tout le cors en apert montre
a ceus qu'el voit muser encontre.
Et s'el n'est bele de visage,
1036plus85 leur doit torner conme sage
ses beles treces blondes chieres
et tout le haterel darrieres,
quant bel et bien trecié le sant ;
1040c'est une chose mout plesant
que biauté de cheveleüre.
Torjorz doit fame metre cure
qu'el puist la louve ressembler
1044quant el vet les berbiz enbler ;
car, qu'el ne puist du tout faillir,
por une en vet ·m· assaillir,
qu'el ne set la quele el prendra
1048devant que prise la tendra.
Ausinc doit fame par tout tendre
ses raiz por touz les homes prendre,
car por ce qu'el ne peut savoir
1052des quex el puist la grace avoir,
au mains por un a soi sachier
a touz doit son croc estachier.86
Lors ne devra pas avenir
1056qu'el n'en daie aucun pris tenir87
whether on clean streets or on muddy ones. Remembering the wheel which the peacock makes with his tail, she should do the same with her coat, so that she displays openly for anybody she sees staring at her both her body and the fur linings of her clothing, squirrel or whatever costly fur she has used.
If her face is not beautiful, she must be clever and show people her beautiful priceless blond tresses and her well-coifed neck. A beautiful head of hair is a very pleasant thing. A woman must always take care to imitate the she-wolf when she wants to steal ewes, for, in order not to fail completely, the wolf must attack a thousand to capture one; she doesn't know which she will take before she has taken it. So a woman ought to spread her nets everywhere to catch all men; since she cannot know which of them she may have the grace to catch, at least she ought to hook onto all of them in order to be sure of having one for herself. If she does so, it should never happen that she will have no catch at all
des fos antre tant de milliers
qui li frotera ses illiers,
voire pluseurs par aventure,
1060car art aïde mout nature.
Et s'ele pluseurs en acroche
qui metre la vueillent en broche,
gart, conmant que la chose queure,
1064qu'ele ne mete a ·ii· une heure,
car por deceüz se tendroient
quant pluseur ensemble vendroient,
si la porroient bien lessier.
1068Ce la porroit mout abessier,
car au mains li eschaperoit
ce que chascuns aporteroit.
El ne leur doit ja riens lessier
1072don il se puissent engressier,
mes metre an si grant povreté
qu'il muirent las et endeté,
et cele an soit riche mananz,
1076car perduz est li remananz.
D'amer povre home ne li chaille,
qu'il n'est riens que povre home vaille ;
se c'iert Ovides ou Homers,
1080ne vaudroit il pas ·ii· gomers ;
ne ne li chaille d'amer hoste,
car ausinc con il met et hoste
son cors en divers herbargages,
1084ausinc li est li queurs volages.
Hoste amer ne li lo je pas ;
vmes toutevois an son trepas,
from among the thousands of fools who will rub up against her flanks. Indeed she may catch several, for art is a great aid to nature.
And if she does hook several of those who want to put her on the spit, let her be careful, however events run, not to make appointments at the same hour with two of them. If several were to appear together they would think themselves deceived and they might even leave her. An event like this could set her back a long way, for at the least she would lose what each had brought her. She should never leave them anything on which they might grow fat, but plunge them into poverty so great that they may die miserable and in debt; in this way she will be rich, for what remains theirs is lost to her.
She should not love a poor man, for a poor man is good for nothing; even if he were Ovid or Homer, he wouldn't be worth two drinking mugs. Nor should she love a foreign traveler, for his heart is as flighty as his body, which lodges in many places; no, I advise her not to love a foreigner.
se deniers ou joiaus li offre,
1088praingne tout et boute88 en son coffre,
et face lors cil son plesir
ou tout a haste ou a lesir.
Et bien gart qu'el n'aint ne ne prise
1092nul home de trop grant cointise
ne qui de sa biauté se vante,
car c'est orgueuz qui si le tante,
si s'est en l'ire Dieu boutez
1096hom qui se plest, ja n'an doutez,
car ausinc le dit Tholomee,
par cui fu mout sciance amee.
Tex89 n'a poair de bien amer,
1100tant a mauvés queur et amer ;
et ce qu'il avra dit a l'une,
autant an dit il90 a chascune,
et pluseurs en revet lober
1104por eus despoillier et rober.
Mainte compleinte an ai veüe
de pucele ainsinc deceüe.
Et s'il vient aucuns prometierres,
1108soit leaus hom ou hoquelierres,
qui la veulle d'amors prier
et par promesse a soi lier,
et cele ausinc li repromete,
1112mes bien se gart qu'el ne se mete
por nule riens en sa menoie,
s'el ne tient ainceis la monoie.91
Et s'il mande riens par escrit,
1116gart se cil faintemant escrit
However, if during his stay he offers her money or jewels she should take them all and put them in her coffer; then he may do as he pleases in haste or at his leisure.
She must be very careful not to love or value any man who is too elegant or who is haughty about his beauty, for it is pride which tempts him. The man who pleases himself, never doubt it, incurs the wrath of God; so says Ptolemy, the great lover of knowledge. Such a man has so evil and bitter a heart that he cannot love well. What he says to one woman he says to all. He tricks many to despoil and rob them. I have seen many complaints of maidens thus deceived. And if any man, either an honest man or a swindler, should make promises, hoping to beg for her love and bind her to him by vows, she may exchange vows, but she must be careful not to put herself at his mercy, unless she gets hold of the money also.
If he makes any promise in writing, she must see if there is any deception
ou s'il a bone entencion
de fin queur sanz decepcion ;
amprés li rescrive an poi d'eure,
1120mes ne sait pas fet sanz demeure :
demeure les amanz atise,
mes que trop longue ne soit prise.
Et quant el orra la requeste
1124de l'amant, gart qu'el ne se heste
de s'amor du tout otroier ;
ne ne li doit du tout noier,
ainz le doit tenir en balance,
1128qu'il ait poor et esperance ;
et quant cil plus la requerra
et cele ne li offerra92
s'amor, qui si forment l'enlace,
1132gart soi la dame que tant face
par son engin et par sa force
que l'esperance adés anforce,
et petit a petit s'an aille
1136la poor tant qu'ele defaille,
et qu'il faceint pes et concorde.
Cele qui puis a lui s'acorde
et qui tant set de guiles faintes,
1140Dieu doit jurer et sainz et saintes
c'onq ne se volt mes otrier
a nul, tant la seüst prier,
et dire: 'Sire, c'est la some,
1144foi que doi saint Pere de Rome,
par fine amor a vos me don,
car ce n'est pas par93 vostre don.
or if his good intentions are those of a true heart. She may then soon write a reply, but not without some delay. Delay excites lovers as long as it is not too great.
When she hears a lover's request, she should be reluctant to grant all her love, at the same time she should not deny him everything, but try to keep him in a state of balance between fear and hope. When he makes his demands more pressing and she does not yield, which has bound him so strongly, she must arrange things, through her strength and her craft, so that hope constantly grows little by little as fear diminishes until peace and concord bring the two together. In giving in to him, she, who knows so many wily ruses, should swear by God and by the saints that she has never wished to give herself to anyone, no matter how well he may have pleaded; then she should say, 'My lord, this is the way it is: by the faith which I owe to Saint Peter of Rome, I give myself to you out of pure love, not because of your gifts.
N'est hom nez par94 cui ce feïsse
1148por nul don, tant grant le veïsse.
Maint vaillant home ai refusé,
car mout ont maint a moi musé.
Si croi qu'ous95 m'avez anchantee,
1152male chançon m'avez chantee.'
Lors le doit estroit acoler
et besier par mieuz affoler.
Mes s'el veult mon conseill avoir,
1156ne tande a riens fors qu'a l'avoir.96
Fole est qui son ami ne plume
Jusqu'a la darreniere plume ;
car qui mieuz plumer le savra,
1160c'iert cele qui meilleur l'avra
et qui plus iert chiere tenue,
quant plus chier se sera vendue ;
car ce que l'an a par noiant,
1164trop le va l'en plus vistoiant ;97
l'an nou prise pas une escorce ;
se l'an le pert, l'en n'i fet force,
au mains si grant ne si notee
1168con qui l'avroit chier achatee.
Mes au plumer convient maniere.
Ses vallez et sa chamberiere
et sa sereur et sa norrice
1172et sa mere, se mout n'est nice,
par98 qu'il consentent la besoigne,
facent tuit tant que cil leur doigne
seurcot, ou cote, ou ganz, ou mofles,
1176et ravissent conme uns escofles
The man isn't born for whom I would do this for any gift, no matter how greatly he desired it. I have refused many a worthy man, for many have gazed adoringly at me. I think you must have cast a spell over me; you have sung me a wicked song.' Then she should embrace him closely and kiss him so that he will be even better deluded.
But if she wants my advice, she should think only of what she can get. She is a fool who does not pluck her lover down to the last feather, for the better she can pluck the more she will have, and she will be more highly valued when she sells herself more dearly. Men scorn what they can get for nothing; they don't value it at a single husk. If they lose it, they care little, certainly not as much as does one who has bought it at a high price. Here then are the proper ways to pluck men: get your servants, the chambermaid, the wet nurse, your sister, even your mother, if she is not too particular, to help in the task and do all they can to get the lover to give them coats, jackets, gloves, or mittens;
quant qu'il an porront agraper,
si que cil ne puist eschaper
de leur mains en nule maniere
1180tant qu'il ait fet sa darreniere,
si con cil qui geue aus noiaus,
tant leur doint deniers et joiaus :
mout est plus tost praie achevee,
1184quant par pluseurs mains est levee.
Autre foiz li redient : 'Sire,
puis qu'il le vos convient a dire,
vez qu'a ma dame robe faut.
1188Conment soffrez vos cest99 defaut ?
S'el vousist fere, par saint Gile,
por tel a il en ceste vile,
conme reïne fust vestue
1192et chevauchast a grant sambue.
Dame, par quoi tant atandez
que vos ne la li demandez ?
Trop par iestes vers lui honteuse,
1196quant si vos lesse soffreteuse.'
Et cele, conbien qu'il li plesent,
leur100 doit conmander qu'il se tesent,
qui tant, espoir, en a levé
1200qu'el l'a trop durement grevé.
Et s'ele voit qu'il s'aperçoive
Qu'il li doint101 plus que il ne doive
et que formant grevez cuide estre
1204des granz dons dom il la seut pestre,
et sentira que de doner
ne l'ose ele mes sarmoner
like kites, they will plunder whatever they can seize from him, so that he may in no way escape from their hands before he has spent his last penny. Let him give them money and jewels as though he were playing with buttons instead of money. The prey is captured much sooner when it is taken by several hands.
On occasion let them say to him, 'Sir, since we must tell you so, don't you see that my lady needs a dress? How can you allow her to go without? By Saint Giles! If she wanted to be with a certain one in this town, she would be dressed like a queen and ride out in fine trappings. My lady, why do you wait so long before asking him for it? You are too shy toward him when he leaves you thus in your destitution.' Then, however pleased she is, she should order them to keep quiet, she, who has perhaps relieved him of so much that she has harmed him seriously.
And if she sees that he recognizes that he may be giving her more than he ought to and that he may think himself seriously harmed by the large gifts which he is in the habit of feeding her, and if she feels that she does not dare urge him to give anything,
lors li doit prier qu'il li preste,
1208et li jurt qu'ele est toute preste
de le li randre a jour nom
tel con il li avra nomé.
Mes bien est par moi deffandu
1212que ja mes n'an soit riens randu.
Se ses autres amis revient,102
don el a pluseurs, se devient,
(mes an nul d'aus son queur n'a mis,
1216tout les claime ele touz amis)
si se complaigne conme sage
que sa meilleur robe et si103 gage
queurent chascun jour a usure,
1220don ele est en si grant ardure
et tant est ses104 queurs a mesese
qu'el ne fera riens qui li plese,
se cil ne li reant ses gages ;
1224et li vallez, se mout n'est sages,
por quoi pecune li sait sourse,
metra tantost main a la bourse
ou fera quelque chevissance
1228don li gage aient delivrance,
qui n'ont mestier d'estre reanz,
ainz sunt, espoir, tretuit leanz
por le bacheler anserré
1232an aucun coffre bien ferré,
qu'il ne li chaut, espoir, s'il cerche
dedanz sa huche ou a sa perche,
por estre de li mieuz creüe,
1236tant qu'ele ait la pecune eüe.
then she should ask him to lend to her, swearing that she is quite ready to pay him back by any day that he will name. But I certainly forbid that anything ever be given back.
If another of her friends returns – possibly, she has several of them, but has not given her heart to anyone of them, although she calls them all her sweethearts – she should complain, like a wise person, that her best clothes and her money are running out every day for usury, and that as a result she is in such great anguish and torment of heart that she will do nothing to please him unless he gets back her pledges. If the young man is not very wise and is blessed with money, he will put his hand to his purse immediately or in some way bring about the release of those pledges that don't need to be bought back but are, perhaps, all locked up on his account within some iron-bound coffer, since it may be necessary to hide them in order to be the better believed, if he searches her closet or clothes pole, until she gets the money.
reserve d'autel lobe ;
ou ceinture d'argent ou robe
ou guimple lo qu'el li demande,
1240et puis deniers qu'ele despande.
Et s'il ne li a que porter
et jurt, por li reconforter,
et fiance de pié, de main
1244qu'il l'aportera landemain,105
face li les orreilles sourdes,
n'en croie riens, quar106 ce sunt bourdes.
Trop sunt tuit espert menteür,
1248plus m'ont menti, li fouteür,107
et foiz et seremenz jadis
qu'il n'a de sainz en paradis.
Au mains, puis qu'il n'a que paier,
1252face au vin son gage anvaier
por ·ii· deniers, por ·iii·, por ·iiii·,
1254ou s'aille hors ailleurs esbatre.
Si doit fame, s'el n'est musarde,
fere samblant d'estre couarde,
de trembler, d'estre pooreuse,
1258d'estre destraite et angoisseuse
quant son ami doit recevoir,
et li face antendre de voir
qu'an trop grant perill le reçoit
1262quant son mari por lui deçoit,
ou ses gardes, ou ses paranz ;108
et que,109 se la chose iert paranz
qu'ele veust fere en repoutaille,
1266morte serait sanz nule faille ;
She should reserve a third friend for a similar trick; I advise her to ask him for a silver belt, a dress, or a wimple, and then for money which she can spend.
And if he has nothing to bring her and swears, in order to comfort her, and promises by his foot and his hand that he will bring her something the next day, she should turn deaf ears to him. Let her believe nothing; all his tales are tricks. All men are very expert liars. These wastrels have told me more lies, made me more vows and oaths in past times than there are saints in paradise. When he has nothing to pay with, at least let him pledge at the wine merchant's for two, three, or four pennies, or send him away to have a good time elsewhere.
A woman who is not a simpleton should pretend to be a coward, to tremble, be fearful, distraught, and anxious when she must receive her lover; she should make him believe that she is receiving him in very great peril when she deceives her husband for him, or her guardians or her parents, and that if the thing that she wants to do in secret were open, she would be dead without fail.
et jurt qu'l110 ne peut demourer,
s'il la devoit vive acourer ;
puis demeurt a sa volanté,
1270quant el l'avra bien anchanté.
Si li redoit bien souvenir,
quant ses amis devra venir,
s'el voit que nus ne l'aperçoive,
1274par la fenestre le reçoive,
tout puisse ele mieuz par la porte ;
et jurt qu'ele est111 destruite et morte,
et que de lui seroit neanz
1278se l'en savoit qu'il fust leanz :
nou guerroient annes molues,
heaumes, haberz, pex ne maçues,
ne huches, ne clotez, ne chambres
1282qu'il ne fust depeciez par manbres.
Puis doit la dame sopirer
et sai par samblant aïrer,
et l'assaille et li queure seure
1286et die que si grant demeure
n'a il mie fet sanz reson
et qu'il tenoit en sa meson
autre fame, quel qu'ele soit,
1290dom li solaz mieuz li plesoit,
et qu'or est ele bien112 traïe
quant il l'a por autre enhaïe ;113
bien doit estre lasse clamee
1294quant ele aime sanz estre amee.
Et quant orra ceste114 parole
ou qui la pensee aura fole,
She should swear that he cannot stay if his presence is to bring about her instant death. Afterward, when she has enchanted him well, he will do according to her will.
She should also remember well, when her friend is to come, to receive him through the window, if she sees that no one will notice him, even though she might better do so through the door. She must swear that she would be destroyed and dead, and he, too, if it were known that he was within. No even sharp weapons, helm, halberd, pike, or club, hutches, cabinets, or chambers would protect him from being cut to pieces, limb by limb.
Next, a lady must sigh and pretend to get angry, to attack him and run at him and say that he hasn't been late without some reason, and that some other woman was keeping him at home, someone whose solaces were more pleasing to him, and that now she is indeed betrayed when he hates her on account of another. She should certainly be called a miserable creature, when she loves without being loved. When the man, with his silly ideas,
si cuidera tout erraument
1298que cele l'aint trop leaument
et que plus soit de li jalouse
c'onc ne fu de Venus s'espouse
Vulcanus, quant il rot trovee
1302aveques Mars prise provee.
Es laz qu'il ot d'arain forgiez
les tenoit andeus an forz giez,
ou115 geu d'amors joinz et lïez,
1306tant les ot li fous espïuez.
Si tost con Vulcanus ce sot,
que pris provez andeus les ot
es laz qu'entour le lit posa
1310— mout fu fos quant fere l'osa,
car cil a mout po de savoir
1312qui seus cuide sa fame avoir —
les dex i fist venir an heste,
qui mout ristrent et firent feste
quant en ce point les aperçurent.
1316De la biauté Venus s'esmurent
tuit li pluseur des damedex,
qui mout fesoit plaintes e dex
conme honteuse et corrociee
1320don ainsinc iert116 prise et laciee,
n'onc n'ot honte a ceste paraille.
Si n'iert ce pas trop grant mervaille
se Venus o Mars se metoit,
1324car Vulcanus si lez etoit
et si charbonez de sa forge
par mains, et par vis, et par gorge
hears this speech, he will believe, quite incorrectly, that she loves him very loyally and that she may be more jealous of him than Vulcan ever was of his wife Venus, when he found her in the act with Mars. The fool had so spied upon them that he captured the two of them in strong bonds, as they were joined and linked in the game of love, in the nets that he had forged of brass.
As soon as Vulcan knew that he had caught the two of them in the act with the net that he had put around the bed – he was a great fool when he dared to do so, for he who thinks that he can keep his wife to himself has very little understanding – he had the gods come in haste, who laughed a lot and made fun when they saw them in this situation. Nearly all of the gods were amazed by the beauty of Venus, who made many complaints and laments, shamed and angered as she was at having been thus captured; never had she experienced such shame. But it was no great wonder if Venus gave herself to Mars, for Vulcan was so ugly and so blackened from his forge, on his hands, his face, and his neck,
que por riens Venus ne l'amast,
1328conbien que mari le clamast.
Non, par Dieu, pas, se ce fust ores
Absalon o ses treces sores,
ou Paris, filz le roi de Troie,
1332ne l'en portast el ja menoie,
qu'el savoit bien, la debonere,
que toutes fames sevent fere.
D'autre part el sunt franches nees ;
1336loi les a condicionees,
qui les oste de leur franchises
ou Nature les avoit mises ;
car Nature n'est pas si sote
1340qu'ele face nestre Marote
tant seulement por Robichon,
se l'antandement i fichon,
ne Robichon por Mariete,
1344ne por Agnés ne por Perrete,
ainz nous a fez, biau filz, n'en doutes,
toutes par touz et touz par toutes,117
chascune par118 chascun conmune
1348et chascun conmun a119 chascune,
si que, quant el sunt affiees,
par loi prises et mariees,
par120 aster dissolucions
1352et contenz et occisions
et par121 aidier les norretures
dom il ont ensemble les cures,
si s'efforcent en toutes guises
1356de retourner a leur franchises
that Venus would not have loved him for anything, even though she called him her husband. No, by God, not even if he had been Absalom, with his blond locks, or Paris, son of the king of Troy, would she ever have been compliant with him, since she, the fair one, knew very well what all women know how to do.
Moreover, women are born free. The law, which takes away the freedom in which Nature placed them, has placed them under certain conditions. Nature is not so stupid that she has Marotte born only for Robichon, if we think about it, nor Robichon only for Marietta or Agnes or Perette. Instead, fair son, never doubt that she has made all women for all men and all men for all women, each woman fitting for every man and every man fitting for each woman. Thus, when they are engaged, captured by law, and married, in order to prevent quarreling, contention, and murder and to help in the rearing of children, who are their joint responsibility, they still exert themselves in every way,
les dames et les damoiseles,
quex qu'el soient, ledes ou beles.
Franchise a leur poair maintienent,
1360don trop de maus vendront et vienent,
et vindrent a pluseurs jadis ;
bien an nombreroie ja ·x·,
voire tant (mes je les trespasse)
1364que j'en seroie toute lasse,
et vos d'oïr touz anconbrez
ainz que ges122 eüsse nonbrez ;
car quant chascun jadis123 voaiet
1368la fame qui mieuz li saiet,
maintenant ravir la vosist,
se plus fort ne la li tosist,
et la lessast, s'il li pleüst,
1372quant son valoir fet en eüst ;
si que jadis s'entretuaient124
ainz que l'an feïst mariages
par le conseill des homes sages.
1376Et qui vodroit Horace croire,
bone parole en dit et voire,
car mout sot bien lire et diter,
si la vos vueill ci reciter,
1380car sage fame n'a pas honte
quant bone auctorité raconte.
Jadis avant Helene furent
batailles que li con esmurent,
1384don cil a grant douleur perirent
qui par eus les batailles firent
(mes les morz n'en sunt pas seües,
quant en escrit ne sunt leües),
these ladies and girls, ugly or beautiful, to return to their freedoms. They maintain their freedom as best they can; as a result, many evils will come, do come, and have come many times in the past. In fact, I would count over ten of them straightway, but I will move on, since I would be worn out and you overburdened with listening before I had numbered them. Formerly, when a man saw the woman who suited him best, he wanted to carry her off immediately, if someone stronger did not take her away from him; and he left her, if he pleased, when he had done his will with her. They also killed one another and abandoned the care and feeding of their offspring. This was the time before men made marriages through the counsel of wise men. And if you want to believe Horace, he spoke about it well and truthfully. He knew very well how to instruct and teach, and I would like to repeat his statement here, for a wise woman is not ashamed when she recounts a good authority.
Formerly, before the time of Helen, there were battles spurred by fools, in which those who fought for them perished under great suffering; but the dead are not known when we do not read about them in written texts.
1388car ce ne fu pas la prumiere,
non sera ce la darreniere,
par cui guerres vendront et vindrent
entre ceus qui tandront et tindrent
1392leurs queurs mis en amor de fame,
don maint ont perdu cors et ame,
et perdront, se li siecles dure.
Mes prenez bien garde a Nature,
1396car, par125 plus clerement voair
conme el a merveilleus poair,
mainz examples vos an puis metre,
qui bien font a voair an letre.
For these were not the first nor will they be the last through whom wars will come and have come between those who will keep and have kept their hearts set on the love of a woman. As a result, many have lost body and soul, and they will do so if the world endures. But pay good attention to Nature, for in order that you may see more clearly what wondrous power she has, I can give you many examples which will show this power in detail.
Li oisillons du vert bochage,
quant il est pris et mis en cage,
nourriz mout antantivement
1404et chante, tant con sera vis,
de queur gai, ce vos est avis,
si desierre il les bois ramez
qu'il a naturelment amez,
1408et voudrait seur les arbres estre,
ja si bien nou savra l'an pestre.
Tourjorz i panse et s'estudie
a recouvrer sa franche vie ;
1412sa viande a ses piez demarche
o l'ardeur qui son queur li charche,
et va par sa cage traçant,
a grant angoisse porchaçant
1416conment fenestre ou pertuis truisse
par quoi voler au bois s'an puisse.
When the bird from the green wood is captured and put in a cage, very attentively and delicately cared for there within, you think that it sings with a gay heart as long as it lives; but it longs for the branching woods that it loved naturally, and it would want to be on the trees, no matter how well one could feed it. It continuously thinks about it and studies how to regain its free life. It tramples its food under its feet with the ardor with which its heart is filled, and it goes trailing around its cage, searching in great anguish for a way to find a window or hole through which it might fly away to the woods.
Ausinc sachiez que toutes fames,
saient damoiseles ou dames,
1420de quelconques procession,
ont naturele entencion
qu'el cercheroient volentiers
par quex chemins, par quex sentiers
1424a franchise venir porroient,
car torjorz avoir la vorroient.
In the same way, you know, all women of every condition, whether girls or ladies, have a natural inclination to seek out voluntarily the roads and paths by which they might reach freedom, for they always seek it.
Ausinc vos di je que li hom
qui s'an entre en religion,
1428et vient aprés qu'il se126 repent,
par po que de deul ne se pent,
1430et se complaint et se demente
si que touz an soi se tourmente,
tant li sourt grant desir d'ovrer
conment il porra recovrer
1434la franchise qu'il a perdue,
car la volenté ne se mue
par nul abit qu'il puisse prandre,
en quelque leu qu'il s'aille randre.
C'est li fos poissons qui s'an passe
par mi la gorge de la nasse,
qui, quant il s'en veust retourner,
maugré sien l'esteut sejourner
1442a torjorz en prison leanz,
car du retourner est neanz.
Li autre, qui dehors demeurent,
quant il le voient, si aqueurent
1446et cuident que cil s'esbanoie
a grant deduit et127 a grant joie,
It is the same, I tell you, with the man who goes into a religious order and comes to repent of it afterward. He needs only a little more grief to hang himself. He complains and laments until he is completely tormented by the great desires that come to him. He has great desire to find out how to regain the freedom that he has lost. The will is not changed by any habit that one may take, no matter where one goes.
He is like the foolish fish that passes through the mouth of the trap-net and then, when it wants to get back out, has to remain, in spite of itself, within its prison forever, for there is no chance to go back. The others who remain outside rush together when they see him. When they see how it is turning and appearing to enjoy itself they think that it really is having a good time, one of great diversion and joy.
quant la le voient tournoier
et par semblant esbanoier ;
1450et por ice meesmement
qu'il voient bien apertement
qu'il a leanz assez viande,
tele con chascun d'eus demande,
1454moult volentiers i entreroient,
si vont antour et tant tournoient,
tant i hurtent, tant i aguetent
que le trou treuvent, si s'i gietent.
1458Mes quant il sunt leanz venu,
pris a torjorz et retenu,
puis ne se peuent il tenir
qu'il ne vuellent bien revenir ;
1462mes ce n'est pas chose possible,
qu'il sunt mieuz pris que a la trible.
La les convient a grant deul vivre,
tant que la mort les an delivre.
Tout autel vie va querant
li jennes hom quant il se rant,
car ja si granz solers n'avra
ne ja si fere ne savra
1470grant chaperon ne large aumuce
que Nature ou queur ne se muce.
Lors est il morz et maubailliz,
quant frans estaz li est failliz,
1474s'il ne fet de neccessité
vertu par grant humilité.
Mes Nature ne peut mentir,
qui franchise li fet sentir,
They think so especially when they see very clearly that there is plenty of food within, as much as each of them might ask for, and they would willingly enter there. They swim all around the trap, twist and bump into it and examine it so much that they find the hole and throw themselves through it. But when they have entered it, they are captured and held forever; and afterward they cannot keep from wanting to go back, but it is not possible to do so, since they are captured more securely than in a hoop-net. They have to live there in great sorrow until death delivers them from it.
That is just the sort of life that a young man seeks when he gives himself up, for he will never have shoes or hood or cowl large enough to prevent Nature from spreading in his heart. Then, when his state of freedom is gone, he is dead and in miserable state unless, out of great humility, he turns necessity into a virtue. But Nature, who makes him feel what freedom is, cannot lie.
1478car Horaces neïs raconte,
qui bien set que tel chose monte,
qui voudroit une forche prandre
por soi de Nature deffandre
1482et la bouterait hors de sai,
revandroit ele, bien le sai.
Tourjorz Nature recourra,128
ja por habit ne demourra.
1486Que vaut ce ? Toute creature
veust retourner a sa nature,
ja nou lera por violance
de force ne de couvenance.
1490Ce doit mout Venus escuser
Qu'el129 vouloit de franchise user,
et toutes dames qui se geuent,
conbien que mariage veuent,
1494car ce leur fet Nature fere,
qui les veust a franchise trere.
Trop est fort chose que Nature,
el130 passe neis nourreture.
Even Horace, who knows well the meaning of such a thing, tells us that if anyone wanted to take up a pitchfork to protect himself against Nature and shove her away, she would come back, and I agree. Nature will always run back, and she will not remain away on account of any habit. What good does it do to insist? Every creature wants to return to its nature; it will never leave it because of the violence of force or necessity. This fact must give a good deal of excuse to Venus, since she wanted to use her freedom, and to all ladies who play around, no matter how much they are bound in marriage, for Nature makes them act thus because she wants to draw them to freedom. Nature is too strong; she surpasses even training.
Qui prendroit, biau filz, ·i· chaton
qui onques rate ne raton
veü n'avroit, puis fust nouriz
sanz ja131 voair rat ne souriz,
1502lonc tens, par ententive cure,
de delicieuse pasture,
et puis veïst souriz venir,
n'est riens qui le peüst tenir,
1506se l'en le lessoit eschaper,
qu'il ne l'alast tantost haper ;
Fair son, take a kitten that had never seen a rat, large or small. If it had been fed for a long time, with the most careful attention, on delicate fare, without ever seeing a rat or a mouse, and then saw a mouse approach, if one let it escape,
tretouz ses mes en lesseroit,
ja si familleus ne seroit ;
1510n'est riens qui pes entr'eus feïst,
por peine que l'en i meïst.
Qui nourrir ·i· polein savroit
qui jumant veüe n'avroit
1514jusqu'a tant qu'il fust granz destriers
por soffrir selles et estriers,
et puis veïst jumant venir,
vos l'orriez tantost henir,
1518et voudroit encontre lui132 courre,
s'il n'iert qui l'en peüst rescourre,
1520non pas morel contre morele
seulement, mes contre fauvele,
contre grise, ou contre liarde,
se freins, ou bride nou retarde,
1524qu'il n'en a nules espiees,
fors qu'il les truisse desliees
ou qu'il puisse seur eus saillir :
toutes les voudroit assaillir.
1528Et qui morele ne tendroit,
tout le cours a morel vendroit,
voire a fauvel ou a liart,
si con sa volanté li art.
1532Li prumiers qu'ele troveroit,
C'est cil qui ses mariz seroit,
Qu'ele n'en ra nus espiez,
fors qu'el les truisse desliez.
Et ce que je di de morele
et de fauvel et de fauvele
there is nothing that could hold it back from going immediately to seize the mouse. It would leave all its other food for it, no matter how hungry it was; and no matter what trouble one went to, nothing could reconcile the two.
If anyone could raise a colt that had never seen a mare right to the time that it was a great charger bearing saddles and stirrups, and then afterward a mare came, you would hear him neigh immediately, and it would want to run against the mare if there were no one to rescue it. A black horse will mate not only with a black mare, but with a sorrel or dapple or gray, if the rein or bridle doesn't hold it back, since it doesn't examine any of them as long as it may find them untied or can jump on them. It would want to attack them all. And if it didn't stick to the black mare, she would come all the way to a black horse, indeed to a sorrel or a gray, just as her will urges her. The first that the mare saw would be her husband, since she in turn doesn't examine any of them as long as she may find them untied.
And what I say about the black mare, about the sorrel horse and mare
et de liart et de morel,
di je de vache et de torel
1540et des berbiz et du mouton,
car de ceus mie ne douton
qu'il ne veillent leur fames toutes ;
ne ja de ce, biau filz, ne doutes
1544que toutes ausinc touz ne veillent,
toutes volentiers les acueillent.
Ausinc est il, biau filz, par m'ame,
de tout houme et de toute fame
1548quant a naturel appetit,
don lai les retret ·i· petit.
·I· petit ? Mes trop, ce me samble ;
car quant lai les a mis ensamble,
1552el veust, soit vallez ou pucele,
que cil ne puisse avoir que cele,
au mains tant con ele133 soit vive,
ne cele autre, tant con cil vive.
1556Mes toutevois sunt il tanté
d'user de franche volanté,
car bien sai que tel chose monte ;
si s'an gardent aucun por honte,
1560li autre por poor de peine,
mes Nature ausinc les demeine
con les bestes que ci deïsmes.
Je le sé bien par moi meïsmes,
1564car je me sui tourjorz penee
d'estre de touz homes amee ;
et se je ne doutasse honte,
qui refreine mainz queurs et donte,
and the gray and black horses, I say about the cow and bull and the ewe and ram; for we do not doubt that these males want all females as their wives. Never doubt, fair son, that in the same way all females want all males. All women willingly receive them. By my soul, fair son, it is thus with every man and every woman as far as natural appetite goes. The law restrains them a little from exercising it. A little? Too much, it seems to me, for when the law has put them together, it wants either of them, the boy or the girl, to be able to have only the other, at least as long as he or she lives. But at the same time they are tempted to use their free will. I know very well that such a thing does rise up, only some keep themselves from it because of shame, others because they fear trouble; but Nature controls them to that end just as she does the animals of which we were just speaking. I know it from my own experience, for I always took the trouble to be loved by all men. And if I had not feared shame, which holds back and subdues many hearts,
1568quant par ces rues m'en aloie
(car tourjorz aler i voloie,
por neant fust une popee),
1572ces vallez, qui tant me plesoient,
quant ces douz regarz me fesoient
— Douz Dex, quel pitié m'enprenoit
quant cil regarz a moi venoit! —
1576Touz ou pluseurs les receüsse,
s'i leur pleüst et je peüsse ;
touz les vousisse tire a tire,
se je peüsse a touz soffire.
1580Et me sambloit que, s'il peüssent,
volentiers tuit me receüssent
(je n'en met hors prelaz, ne moines,
chevaliers, borgois ne chanoines,
1584ne clerc ne lai, ne fol ne sage,
por qu'il fust de poissant aage)
et des religions saillissent,
s'il ne cuidassent qu'il faillissent
1588quant requise d'amors m'eüssent.
Mes se bien mon pensé seüssent
et noz condicions tretoutes,
il n'en fussent pas en tex doutes ;
1592et croi que, se pluseur osassent,
leur mariages en brisassent ;
ja de foi ne leur souvenist,
se nus en134 privé me tenist ;
1596nus n'i gardast condicion,
foi ne veu ne religion,
when I went along the streets where I always wanted to go – so dressed up in adornments that a dressed-up doll would have been nothing in comparison – I would have received all or at least many of those young boys, if I had been able and if it had pleased them, who pleased me so much when they threw me those sweet glances. (Sweet God! What pity for them seized me when those looks came toward me!) I wanted them all one after the other, if I could have satisfied them all. And it seemed to me that, if they could have, they would willingly have received me. I do not except prelates or monks, knights, burgers, or canons, clerical or lay, foolish or wise, as long as they were at the height of their powers. They would have jumped out of their orders if they had not thought that they might fail when they asked for my love; but if they had known my thought and all our conditions, they would not have been in such doubt. And I think that several, if they had dared, would have broken their marriages. If one of them had had me in private he would not have remembered to be faithful. No man would have kept his situation, his faith, vows, or religion
se ne fust aucuns forsenez
qui fust d'amors anchifrenez
1600et leaument s'amie amast :
cil espoir quite me clamast
et pensast a la seue avoir,
don il ne preïst nul avoir.
1604Mes mout est po de tex amanz,
si m'aïst Dex et sainz Amanz,
conme je croi certeinement :
s'il parlast a moi longuement,
1608que qu'il deïst, mençonge ou voir,
tretout le feïsse esmouvoir ;
qui qu'il fust, seculiers ou d'orde,
fust ceint de cuir rouge ou de corde,
1612quel que chaperon qu'il portast,
o moi, ce croi, se deportast,
s'il cuidast que je le vousisse
ou que, sanz plus, le li soffrisse.
Ainsinc Nature nos joutise,
qui noz queurs a deliz attise ;
por quoi Venus de Mars amer
a mains deservi a blamer.
1620Ainsinc con en tel point estoient
Mars et Venus, qui s'entr'amoient,
des dex i ot mainz qui vousissent
que li autre d'aus se resissent
1624en tel point con il font de Mars.
Mieuz vousist puis ·ii· mile mars
avoir perdu dam Vulcanus
que ceste euvre seüst ja nus ;
unless he were some demented fool who was smitten by love and loved his sweetheart loyally. Such a man, perhaps, would have called me paid and thought about his own possessions, which he would not have given up at any price. But there are very few such lovers, so help me God and Saint Amand; I certainly think so. If he spoke to me for a long time, no matter what he said, lies or truth, I could have completely distressed him. Whatever he was, secular, or in an order, with a belt of red leather or of cord, no matter what headdress he wore, I think that he would have carried on with me if he thought that I wanted him or even if I had allowed him.
Thus Nature regulates us by inciting our hearts to pleasure. For this reason Venus deserves less blame for loving Mars.
Just as Mars and Venus, who loved each other, were in such a situation, there were many of the gods who would have wished, while they were making fun of Mars, that the others had been making fun of them in the same situation. Afterward, Dan Vulcan would rather have lost two thousand marks than that anyone should ever have known about that business,
1628car li dui, qui tel honte an orent,
quant il virent que tuit le sorent,
firent des lors a huis ouvert
ce qu'il fesoient en couvert,
1632n'onques puis du fet n'orent honte
que li dieu firent d'aus leur conte
et tant peuplaierent la fable
qu'el fu par tout le ciel notable ;
1636s'an fu Vulcanus plus irez
quant plus fu li fez enpirez,
n'onques puis n'i pot conseill metre ;
et si con tesmoigne la letre,
1640mieuz li venist estre sofferz
qu'avoir au lit les laz offerz,
et que ja ne s'an esmeüst,
mes feinsist que riens n'en seüst,
1644s'il vousist avoir bele chiere
de Venus, que tant avoit chiere.
Si se devroit cil prendre garde
qui sa fame ou s'amie garde135
1648et par son fol aguiet tant euvre
qu'il la prent provee seur l'euvre,
car sache que pis en fera
quant prise provee sera ;
1652ne cil qui du mal felon art,
qui si l'a prise par son art,
james n'en avra puis la prise
ne biau semblant ne bon servise.
1656Trop est fos maus que jalousie,
qui les jalous art et soussie ;
for when the two who had such shame saw that everyone knew it, they then did in front of people's faces what they had done before in secret. Never afterward were they ashamed of the deed; the gods told the story about them and published it until it was well known throughout the heaven. The worse the deed was, the angrier Vulcan got, and could never afterward take any counsel. As the word bears witness, it would have been better for him to suffer than to have stretched his nets near the bed; it would have been better not to show emotion, but instead to pretend that he knew nothing, if he wanted to have the good graces of Venus, whom he held so dear.
Thus a man who watches over his wife or his sweetheart should take care when his foolish spying works so well that he catches her in the act. For you may be sure that she will do worse when she is caught. And he who burns with that cruel sickness, jealousy, and captures her with his ingenuity will never, after the capture, have from her either a fair look or good service. Jealousy is a very foolish disease. It makes the jealous husband burn with worry.
mes ceste a jalousie fainte
qui faintemant fet tel complainte
1660et amuse ainsinc le musart :
quant plus l'amuse, et cil plus art.
Et s'il ne s'en daigne escondire,
ainz die, por lui metre en ire,
1664qu'il a voirement autre amie,
gart qu'el ne s'en corroce mie.
Ja soit ce que semblant an face,
se cil autre amie porchace,
1668ja ne li soit a ·i· bouton
de la ribaudie au glouton,
mes face tant que cil recroie,
por ce que d'amer ne recroie,
1672qu'el veille autre ami porchacier
et qu'el nou fet for por chacier
celui don el veust estre estrange,
car bien est droiz qu'el s'en estrange ;
1676et die: 'Trop m'avez meffet,
vanchier m'esteut de ce meffet.
Puis que vos m'avez fete coupe,
je vos servirai d'autel coupe.'
Lors sera cil en pire point
c'onques ne fu, s'il l'aime point,
ne ne s'en savra deporter,
car nus n'a poair de porter
1684grant amor ardanment ou piz
s'il n'a poor d'estre acoupiz.
Lors resaille la chamberiere,
qui face pooreuse chiere,
But the woman should pretend to be jealous and make a pretense of suffering from this disease. Thus she amuses the simpleton, and the more she amuses him the more he will burn.
And if he does not deign to deny his fault but says, in order to make her angry, that he really has another sweetheart, he should be careful that she does not fall into a rage. No matter what appearance she may make of it, if he takes another sweetheart, his greedy promiscuity should never bother her as much as a button. She should lead him to believe, so that he won't stop loving her, that she wants to get another friend and that she does so only to get rid of the one whom she wants to estrange, for it is quite right that she separate from him. And she should say: 'You have misbehaved very much with me, and I must avenge myself for this wrong. Since you have tricked me, I will deal you a similar trick.'
Then, if he loves her at all, he will be in a worse situation than he ever was, and he will not know how to act. No man has the ability to carry a great love in his breast if he is not afraid of being tricked.
Then let the chambermaid rush back, make a face of terror,
1688et die : 'Lasse, mortes somes !
Mi sires, ou ne sai quex homes,
est antrez dedanz nostre court.'
La convient que la dame court
1692et antrelaist toute besoigne,
mes le vallet ainceis respoigne
an tait, en estable ou en huche,
jusqu'a tant qu'ele le rehuche,
1696quant ele iert arriers la venue.
Cil qui desierre la venue
voudroit lors estre ailleurs, espoir,
de poor et de desespoir.
Lors, se c'est ·i· autres amis,
cui la dame terme avra mis,
dom el n'avra pas esté sage,
qu'il n'en port du tout le musage,
1704conbien que de l'autre li manbre,
mener le peut en quelque chambre.
Face lors tout ce qu'il vorra
cil qui demourer n'i porra,
1708don mout avra pesance et ire,
car la dame li porra dire :
'Du demourer est ce neanz
puis que mi sires136 est ceanz,
1712et ·iiii· mien cousin germain.
Si m'aïst Dex et saint Germain,
quant autre foiz venir porrez,
je feré quan que vos vorrez ;
1716mes soffrir vos convient atant.
Je m'an revois, car l'an m'atant.'
and say: 'Unfortunate creatures, we are dead. My lord, or I don't know what man, has entered our court.' Then the lady must run and interrupt all business at hand. But she should hide the young man under the roof, in the stable, or in a closet until she may call him back. Then, the man who desires her return would undoubtedly prefer to be elsewhere out of fear or despair.
Then, if it is another friend with whom the lady has fixed a time – and she was not very wise to do so, since the first will not endure her stupidity at all, even though she may keep him in mind – she can lead him into some room. He may then do his will, but he will be unable to stay. As a result he will be very aggrieved and angry, for the lady will be able to say to him, 'There's no hope of your staying, since my lord is within, and four of my first cousins. So help me God and Saint Germanus, some other time when you can come, I will do whatever you want. But you will have to wait that long. Now I must go back, for they are waiting for me.'
Mes ainceis le doit hors bouter,
qu'el nou puist huimes riens douter.
Lors doit la dame retorner,
qu'ele ne face sejorner
trop longuement l'autre a mesese,
por ce que trop ne li desplese
1724si que trop ne se desconfort.
Si li redoint novel confort,
et convient137 que de prison saille
antre ses braz dedanz sa couche ;
1728mes gart que sanz poor n'i couche
face li antandant et die
qu'ele est trop fole et trop hardie,
et jurt que par l'ame son pere
1732l'amor de li138 trop chier compere
quant se met en tele avanture,
ja soit ce qu'el soit plus seüre
que ceus qui vont a leur talant
1736par chans et par vignes balant ;
car deliz an seürté pris
mains est plesanz, mains a de pris.
Et quant aler devront ensamble,
conbien qu'il la tiegne a sejor ;
por qu'ele voie cler le jor,
qu'el n'antrecloe ainz les fenestres,
1744que si soit ombragés li estres
que, s'ele a ne vice ne tache
seur sa char, que ja cil nou sache.
But she should send him out of house so that she must not fear anything from him.
Then the lady should return, since she may not keep the other one waiting too long in his discomfort or he will be very displeased. Then she may give him his ease again when it is all right for him to come forth from his prison and go to lie in her arms, within her bed, making sure that he does not lie there without fear. She should say and give him to understand that she is too foolish and bold, and even though she may be safer than those who follow their own desires, dancing through fields and vineyards, she should swear by her father's soul that she is paying too much for his love when she takes such a chance. For delight taken in security is less pleasant and has less value.
And when they are to come together, let her take care that he never unites with her, however he may hold her in repose, if she sees daylight, unless she half-closes the windows so that the place may be in shadow; then, if she has a blemish or spot on her skin, he will never know of it.
Gart que nule ordure n'i voie ;
1748qu'il se metroit tantost a voie
et s'en fuiroit queue levee,
s'an seroit honteuse et grevee.
Et quant se seront mis an l'euvre,
1752chascuns d'aus si sagement euvre,
et si a point, que il conviegne
que li deliz ensamble, viegne
de l'une et de l'autre partie
1756ainz que l'euvre soit departie,
et s'antre doivent entr'atendre
por ansamble a leur bonne tendre.
L'un ne doit pas l'autre lessier,
1760de nagier ne doivent cessier
jusqu'il preingnent ansamble port ;
lors auront anterin deport.
Et s'el n'i a point de delit,
1764faindre doit que trop s'i delit,
et faigne et face touz les signes
qu'el set qui sunt au delit dignes,
si qu'il cuit que cele an gré preigne
1768ce qu'el ne prise une chateigne.
Et s'il, por eus asseürer,
peut vers la dame procurer
qu'ele viegne a son propre hostel,
1772si roit la dame propos tel,
le jor qu'el devra l'erre anprandre,
qu'el se face un petit atandre,
si que cil en ait grant desir
1776ainz qu'il la tiegne a son plesir.
Let her take care that he see no filth on her or he would set off on his way immediately and flee with his tail in the air; then she would be ashamed and grieved.
And when they set about their labor, each of them should work so carefully and so exactly that the pleasure must come together for the one person and the other before they leave off the task; and between them, they should wait for each other so that they can direct their desires toward their good. One should not leave the other behind; they should not stop navigating until they come together into port. Then their pleasure will be complete.
And if she has no pleasure whatsoever, she should pretend that she has a great deal; she must simulate all the signs that she knows to be appropriate to pleasure so that he will think that she is taking with gratitude what she doesn't think worth a chestnut.
And if, in order that they may be safer, he gets the lady to come to his own dwelling, then she must have the intention, the day that she is to undertake the trip, of making herself delay a little so that he may desire her very much before he takes her at his own pleasure.
Geus d'amors est ; quant plus demeure,
plus agreable par demeure,
s'an sunt cil mains antalanté
1780qui les ont a leur volanté.
Et quant iert a l'ostel venue
ou tant sera chiere tenue,
lors li jurt et li face antandre
1784qu'au jalous se fet tant atandre
qu'ele an fremist et tremble toute,
et que trop durement se141 doute
d'estre ledangiee ou142 batue
1788quant el ieit arriers revenue ;
mes conment qu'ele se demente,
conbien qu'el die voir, ou mente,
preingne an poor seürement,
et facent en leur priveté,
tretoute leur joliveté.
Et s'el n'a pas laisir d'aler,
1796a son hostel a li paler,
ne recevoir ou sien ne l'ose,
tant la tient li jalous anclose,
lors le doit, s'el peut, anivrer,
1800se mieuz ne s'an set delivrer.
Et se de vin nou peut fere ivre,
d'erbes peut avoir une livre,
ou plus, ou mains, don sanz dangier
1804li peut fere boivre ou mangier
lors dormira cil si formant
qu'il li lerra fere an dormant ;
The longer the games of love are delayed, the more pleasant they are by reason of the delay; and those who enjoy them at their will are less desirous of them.
When she comes to the house where she will be held so dear, then she should swear and give her lover to understand that she is all shivering and trembling in apprehension of her jealous husband, and that she is terribly afraid of being vilified or beaten when she goes back again. But, however distracted she acts and whether she tells the truth or lies, let him take her securely in fear, fearfully in security, and let them play their games out in their privacy.
And if she does not have the leisure to go to his dwelling to speak with him, nor dares receive him at her own because her jealous husband keeps her shut up so much, then, if she can, she should get her husband drunk if she knows no better way to set herself free. And if she cannot make him drunk on wine, she can take a pound of herbs more or less, which, at no danger to herself, she can get him to eat or drink. Then he will sleep so deeply that while he is sleeping
tretout quan que cele vorra,
1808car143 destourner ne l'an porra.
he will leave her free for whatever she wants, for he will be unable to deflect her from anything.
De sa mesnie, s'ele l'a,
anvoit ci144 l'un, et l'autre la ;
ou par legiers dons les deçoive
1812et son ami par eus reçoive ;
ou les repeut touz abevrer,
se du secré les veust sevrer.
Ou, s'il li plest, au jalous die :
1816'Sire, ne sai quel maladie,
ou fievre, ou goute, ou apotume,
tout le cors m'anbrase et alume ;
si m'esteut que j'aille aus estuves ;
1820tout aions nous ceanz ·ii· cuves,
n'i vaudroit riens baign sanz estuve,
por ce convient que je m'estuve.'
Quant li vilains avra songié,
1824li donra il espoir, congié,
conbien qu'il face lede chiere ;
mes qu'ele maint sa chamberiere,
ou aucune seue voisine
1828qui savra toute sa couvine
et son ami, espoir, ravra,
et cele ausinc tout resavra.
Lors s'en ira chiés l'estuvier,
1832mes ja ne cuve ne cuvier
par aventure n'i querra,
mes o son ami se gerra,
se n'est, por ce que bon leur semble,
1836que baignier se doivent ensemble ;
If she has a staff of servants, she can send one here and another there, or deceive them with trifling gifts and receive her lover with their help; or she can make them all drunk as well if she wants to keep them out of the secret.
Or, if she pleases, she may say to the jealous husband, 'Sir, I don't know what disease, what fever or gout or boil, has seized me and is firing my whole body. I have to go to the stews, even though we have two tubs here at home; a bath without a sweat would be worth nothing, and so I must go out to sweat myself.'
After the villain has thought about it, perhaps he will give her permission, even though he makes a nasty face. But she should take her chambermaid along, or some neighbor of hers who knows all about her affair and will, perhaps, have her own lover about whom the lady will know at the same time. Then off she will go to the bathhouse, but by no chance will she ever seek out a bath or tub; will go only to lie with her lover,
car il la peut ileuc atandre,
s'il set qu'el doit cele part tandre .
Nus ne peut metre en fame garde,
1840s'ele meismes ne se garde
Se c'iert Argus qui la gardast
et de ses ·c· euz l'esgardast,
don l'une des moitiez veilleit
1844et l'autre moitié someilleit,
quant Jupiter li fist tranchier
le chief, por Yo revanchier
qu'il avoit en vache muee,
1848de forme humaine desnuee
(Mercurius le li trancha.
quant de Juno la revancha),
n'i vaudroit sa garde mes rien.
1852Fos est qui garde tel mesrien.
Mes gart que ja ne soit si sote,
por riens que clers ne lais li note,
que ja riens d'anchantement croie,
1856ne sorcerie ne charoie,
ne Balenuz ne sa sciance,
ne magique ne nigromance,
que par ce puisse home esmouvoir
1860a ce qu'il l'aint par estouvoir
ne que por li nule autre hee.
Onques ne pot tenir Medee
Jason, por nul anchantemant,
1864n'onq Cyrcé ne tint ansemant
Ulixés qu'il ne s'en foïst
por nul sort que fere en poïst.
unless they should bathe together because it seems good to them. He can wait for her there if he knows that she is to come that way.
No man can keep watch over a woman if she does not watch over herself. If it were Argus who guarded her and looked at her with his hundred eyes, of which one half watched while the other half slept, his guard would be worth nothing. (To revenge Io, whom Argus had changed into a cow and stripped of her human form, Jupiter had his head cut off. Mercury cut it off and thus revenged her against Juno.) Argus's watch would be worth nothing in this case; the man who guards such an object is a fool.
But she should take care never to be so stupid, for anything that anyone, cleric or lay person, may tell her, as to believe at all that enchantment, sorcery, or incantation, that Balenus and his science, or that magic or necromancy can move a man by compulsion to love her or to hate someone else. Medea could never hold Jason with any enchantment, any more than Circe could keep Ulysses from fleeing, no matter what fate she could create.
Si gart fame qu'a nul amant,
1868tant l'aille son ami clamant,
ne doigne don qui gueres vaille.
Bien doignt oreillier, ou touaille,
ou queuvrechief, ou aumosniere,
1872mes qu'el ne soi mie trop chiere,
aguillier, ou laz, ou ceinture,
don po vaille la ferreüre,
ou ·i· biau petit coustelet,
1876ou de fil ·i· lumuisselet,
si con font nonains, par costume
- mes fos est qui les acostume ;
mieuz vient fames du siecle amer :
1880l'en ne s'en fet pas tant blamer,
si vont mieuz a leur volantez ;
leur mariz et leur parantez,
sevent bien de paroles pestre ;
1884et ja soit ce qu'il ne puisse estre
que l'une et l'autre trop ne coust,
trop sunt nonains de graindre coust.
Mes hom, qui bien sages seroit
1888touz dons de fame douteroit,
car dons de fame, au dire voir,
ne sunt fors laz a decevoir ;
et contre sa nature peche
1892fame qui de largece a teche.
Lessier devons largece aus homes,
car, quant nous, fames, larges somes,
c'est grant mescheance et granz vices,
1896deables nous ont fet si nices ;
A woman must be careful, no matter how much she claims a man as her lover, not to give him a gift that is worth very much. She may indeed give a pillow, a towel, a kerchief, or a purse, as long as they are not too expensive, a needle-case, a lace, a belt with metalwork that is worth little, a fine little knife, or a ball of thread of the kind that nuns usually make. (He who frequents nuns is a fool; it is better to love women of the world, for one does not get shamed as much, and they can follow their desires better. They know how to feed their husbands and families with words. Moreover, even though either kind of woman is costly, the nuns are much more expensive.)
But a man who would indeed be wise should be suspicious of all gifts from a woman, for truly, women's gifts are nothing but deceptive traps and a woman with any trace of generosity sins against her nature. We should leave generosity to men, for when we women are generous, it is a great misfortune, a great vice. Devils have made us this stupid.
Mes ne m'en chaut, il n'en est guieres
qui de dons saient coustumieres.
De tex dons con j'ai dit devant,
1900mes que ce soit an decevant,
biau filz, poez vos bien user
por les musarz mieuz amuser ;
et gardez quan que l'en vos done,
1904et vos soviegne de la bone
ou tretoute jennece tant,
se chascuns poait vivre tant :
c'est de viellece qui ne cesse,
1908qui chascun jor de nous s'apresse,
si que, quant la seroiz venuz,
ne saiez pas por fos tenuz,
mes saiez d'avoir si garniz
1912que vos n'en saiez escharniz,
car aquerre, s'il n'i a garde,
ne vaut pas ·i· grain de moustarde.
Ha! lasse! ainsinc n'ai ge pas fet,
1916or145 sui povre par mon las fet !
Les granz dons que cil me donaient
qui tuit a moi s'abandonoient
aus mieuz amez habandonaie.
1920L'an me donoit, et je donaie,
si que n'en ai riens retenu.
Doner m'a mise au pein menu,
Ne me sovenoit de viellece,
1924qui or m'a mise en tel destrece ;
de povreté ne me tenoit ;
le tens ainsinc con il venoit
But it doesn't matter to me; there is scarcely one that is accustomed to giving gifts.
Fair son, you can very well use such gifts as I have told you about before to amuse these simpletons, as long as you do so to deceive them. Keep whatever people give you and let it remind you of the end toward which all youth is directed, if everyone can live that long: it is old age. It does not stop; it comes closer every day. Do not be considered a fool when you have arrived there. Be so furnished with possessions that no one will make fun of you for being old; for acquisitions that are not kept are not worth a grain of mustard.
Alas! I have not done so. Now, through my own wretched act, I am a poor woman. I abandoned to men I loved better the large gifts that were given me by those who abandoned themselves to me. They gave to me, and I gave away; I have kept nothing. Giving has reduced me to indigence. I did not remember old age which has now put me in such distress. I never thought of poverty. I let time go by just as it came,
lessoie aler, sanz prendre cure
1928de despans fere par mesure.
Se je fusse sage, par m'ame,
trop eüsse esté riche dame,146
car de trop granz genz fui acointe
1932quant g'iere ja mignote et cointe,
et bien an tenoie aucuns pris.
Mes quant j'avoie des uns pris,
foi que doi Dieu ne saint Tibaut,
1936tretout donoie a ·i· ribaut,
qui trop de honte me fesoit,
mes c'iert cil qui plus147 me plesoit.
Les autres touz amis clamoie,
1940mes li148 tant seulement amoie ;
mes sachiez qu'il ne me prisoit
·i· pois, et bien le me disoit.
Mauvés iert, onques ne vi pire,
1944onc ne me cessa de despire ;
putain conmune me clamoit
li ribauz, qui point ne m'amoit.
Fame a trop povre jugement,
1948et je fui fame droitement.
Onc n'amoi home qui m'amast ;
mes se cil ribauz m'antamast
l'espaule, ou ma teste eüst quasse,
1952sachiez que je l'en merciasse.
Il ne me seüst ja tant batre
que seur moi nou feïsse enbatre ;
qu'il savoit trop bien sa pes fere,
1956ja tant ne m'eüst fet contrere.
taking no care to spend moderately.
By my soul, if I had been wise, I would have been a very rich lady, for I was acquainted with very great people when I was sweet and coquettish, and I certainly was held in considerable esteem by them, but when I got something of value from one of them, then, by the faith that I owe God or Saint Tiburtius, I would give it all to a scoundrel who brought me great shame but pleased me more. I called all the others 'my friend', but it was he alone that I loved. Understand, he didn't value me at one pea, and in fact told me so. He was bad – I never saw anyone worse – and he never ceased despising me. This scoundrel, who didn't love me at all, would call me a common whore. A woman has very poor judgment, and I was truly a woman. I never loved a man who loved me, but, you know, if that scoundrel had laid open my shoulder or broken my head, I would have thanked him for it. He wouldn't have known how to beat me so much that I would not have had him throw himself in my arms, for he knew very well how to make his peace, however much he had done against me.
Ja tant ne m'eüst maumenee,
ne batue ne trahinee,
ne mon vis blecié ne nerci,
1960qu'ainceis ne me criast merci
que de la place se meüst ;
ja tant dit honte ne m'eüst
que de pes ne m'amonetast
1964et que lors ne me rafetast :
si ravions pes et concorde.
Ainsinc m'avoit prise en149 sa corde,
car trop estoit fiers rafetierres
1968li faus, li traïstres, li lierres.
Sanz celi ne poisse vivre,
celi vosisse tourjorz sivre.
S'il foïst, bien l'alasse querre
1972Jusqu'a Londres en Angleterre,
tant me plut et tant m'abeli.
Cil150 me mist a honte et je li,
car il menoit les granz cembeaus
1976des dons qu'il ot de moi tant beaus,
ne n'en151 metoit nus an espernes :
tout joait aus dez es tavernes.
N'onques n'aprist autre mestier,
1980n'il ne l'en ert lors nul mestier,
car tant li livroie a despandre,
et je l'avoie bien ou prandre.
Touz li mondes iert mes rantiers,
1984et il despandoit volantiers,
et tourjorz an ribauderie,
tretouz frianz de lecherie.
He would never have treated me so badly, beaten me or dragged me or wounded my face or bruised it black, that he would not have begged my favor before he moved from the place. He would never have said so many shameful things to me that he would not have counseled peace to me and then made me happy in bed, so that we had peace and concord again. Thus he had me caught in his snare, for this false, treacherous thief was a very hard rider in bed. I couldn't live without him; I wanted to follow him always. If he had fled, I would certainly have gone as far as London in England to seek him, so much did he please me and make me happy. He put me to shame and I him, for he led a life of great gaiety with the lovely gifts that he had received from me. He put none of them into saving, but played everything at dice in the taverns. He never learned any other trade, and there was no need then for him to do so, for I gave him a great deal to spend, and I certainly had it for the taking. Everybody was my source of income, while he spent it willingly and always on ribaldry; he burned everything in his lechery.
Tant par avoit la bouche tandre
1988qu'il ne vost a nul bien antandre,
n'onc vivre ne li abelit
fors en oiseuse et en delit.
En la fin l'en vi maubailli,
1992quant li don nous furent failli ;
povre devint et pain queranz ;
et je n'oi vaillant ·ii· ceranz,
n'onques n'oi seigneur espousé.
1996Lors m'an vins, si con dit vos é,
par ces boissons, gratant mes tamples.
Cist miens estaz vos soit examples,
biau douz filz, et le retenez.
2000Si sagement vos demenez
que mieuz vos soit de ma mestrie ;
car, quant vostre rose iert flestrie
et les chenes vous assaudront,
2004certainement li don faudront.'
Ainsinc la vielle a sermoné.
Belacueil, qui mot n'a soné,
Mout volantiers tout escouta.
He had such a tender mouth that he did not want to hear anything good. Living never pleased him except when it was passed in idleness and pleasure. In the end I saw him in a bad situation as a result, when gifts were lacking for us. He became poor and begged his bread, while I had nothing worth two carding combs and had never married a lord. Then, as I have told you, I came through these woods, scratching my temples. May this situation of mine be an example to you, fair sweet son; remember it! Act so wisely that it may be better with you because of my instruction. For when your rose is withered and white hairs assail you, gifts will certainly fail.'
Thus preached the Duenna. Fair Welcoming, who had not spoken a word, listened very willingly to everything.
1This passage corresponds to lines 12545 to 14553 in Armand Strubel's edition and Vol. II, lines 12511 to 14519 in Félix Lecoy's edition.
2'et' is missing
8Parler a vous
11Mes bien vous i povez fier
18'si' is missing
26par nuit et par jour
28Devant moi passoient saillant
35'et' is missing
41qu'el li deïst
44'biaux' is missing
50par tout prendre
53pour lui mieus a s'amour atraire,
54de s'espee, a
60et fu comme
64'ait' is missing
71'li' is missing
74de soupes ou d'auz ou de poivre
77'nule' is missing
79car de on tans pert tant
80tous mes enseignemenz lirez
84con l'en li
86doit son croc a touz atachier
91Devant qu'el tiengne la monoie.
92et plus forment li offerra
96n'entende a riens fors a l'avoir.
97trop le vait on plus viltoiant
102Mais s'uns autres amis li revient,
108et. . .et
109'que' is missing
117pour. . .pour
124After this line : 'et les norretures laissoient'
127'et' is missing
131'ja' is missing
135qui s'amie ou sa fame garde
139'ja' is missing