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Excerpt 9: The Description of Women by Genius before Nature's Confession1

Folio 136vb

Hautemant, en leu d'autre messe;

devant Nature la deesse,
li prestres, qui bien s'acordait,
en audiance recordait
les figures representables
de toutes choses corrumpables
qu'il ot escrites en son livre,
si con Nature les li livre.
In a loud voice, instead of any other Mass, before the goddess Nature, the priest, who was in full agreement, recited before his audience the representable shapes of all corruptible things that he had written in his book, just as Nature had given them to him.

'Genius, dist ele, biaus prestres,'

qui des leus iestes dex et mestres,
et selonc leur proprietez
tretouz en euvre les metez,
et bien achevez la besoigne
di conme a chascun leu besoigne,
d'une folie que j'é fete,
don je ne me sui pas retrete,
mes repentance moult m'ampresse,
a vos me veill fere confesse:
'Genius,' she said, 'fair priest, the god and master of places, who set all things at work according to their properties and who achieve your task well just as is appropriate to each place, I want to confess to you of a folly that I have committed and from which I am not withdrawn, but repentance constrains me very much.'

- Ma dame, du monde raïne,

cui toute riens mondaine andine,
s'il est riens qui vos grieve an tant
que vos an ailliez repantant
'My lady, queen of the world, toward whom every worldly thing bows, if there is anything that troubles you so much that as a result you go around repenting,
Folio 137ra
ou qui neïs vos plese a dire,
de quiconques soit la matire;
soit d'esjoïr ou de douloir,
bien me poez vostre vouloir
confesser tretout par leisir;
et je, tout a vostre pleisir,
fet Genyus, metre i vorré
tout le conseill que je porré,
et celeré bien vostre affere,
se c'est chose qui face a tere,
Et se mestier avez d'assoldre,
ce ne vos dai je mie toldre.
Mes lessiez ester vostre pleur.
- Certes, fet ele, se je pleur,
biaus Genyus, n'est pas merveille.
- Dame, toutevois vos conseille
que vos veilliez ce pleur lessier,
se bien vos volez confessier
et bien antandre a la matire
que vos m'avez anprise a dire.
Car granz est, ce crai, li outrages,
car bien sai que nobles courages
ne s'esmeut pas de po de chose;
s'est mout fos qui troubler vos ose.

Mes, san faille, il est voirs que fame

Legierement d'ire s'anflame.
Virgiles meïsmes tesmoigne
Qui moult connut de leur besoigne,
Que ia fame n'iert tant estable
Qu'el ne soit diverse et muable.
or which it even pleases you to tell, whatever the subject may be, of joy or sorrow, you can indeed confess to me entirely at your leisure whatever you wish; at your pleasure,' said Genius, 'I wish to give all the advice that I can. And if there is anything to keep silent, I shall certainly keep your affair secret. And if you need absolution I should not deprive you of it. But cease your weeping.' 'Certainly,' she said, 'it is no wonder, fair Genius, if I weep.' 'In any case, lady,' he said, 'I advise you to wish to abandon this weeping, if you indeed want to confess, and to be very attentive to the subject that you have undertaken to tell me. I believe that the misdeed is a great one, for I well know that a noble heart is not moved for a small thing. He who dares trouble you is a great fool.
'But it is also true, without fail, that a woman is easily inflamed with wrath. Virgil himself bears witness — and he knew a great deal about their difficulties — that no woman was ever so stable that she might not be varied and changeable.
Folio 137rb
Et si rest trop ireuse beste:
Salemon dist c'onc ne fu teste
Seur teste de serpant crieuse
Ne riens de fame plus ireuse,
N'onc riens no ce dit, n'ot tant malice2
Briefmant en fame a tant de vice3
Que nus ne peut ses meurs pervers
Conter par rimes ne par vers.
Et si dit Titus Livius,
Qui bien connut4 quex sont li us
Des fames et quex les manieres,
Que vers leur meurs nules prieres
Ne valent tant comme blandices,
Tant sont decevables et nices
Et de flechissable nature.
Si redit ailleurs l'escriture
Que de tout le femenin vice
Li fondemenz est avarice.

Et quiconques dit a sa fame

Ses secrez, il an fet sa dame.
Nus hom qui soit de mere nez,
S'il n'est ivres ou forsenez,
Ne doit a fame reveler
Nule riens qui face a celer
Se d'autrui ne le veult oïr:
Mieuz vandroit du païs foïr
Que dire a fame chose a tere,
Tant soit leaus ne debonnaire.
Ne ia nul fet secré ne face
S'il voit fame venir en place,
And thus she remains a very irritable animal. Solomon says that there was never a head more cruel than the head of a serpent and nothing more wrathful than a woman, and that nothing, he says, has so much malice. Briefly, there is so much vice in woman that no one can recount her perverse ways in rhyme or in verse. Titus Livius, who knew well what the habits and ways of women are, says that women are so easily deceived, so silly and of such pliable natures that with their ways entreaties are not worth as much as blandishments. Again, Scripture says elsewhere that the basis of all feminine vice is avarice.
Whoever tells his secrets to his wife makes of her his mistress. No man born of woman, unless he is drunk or demented, should reveal anything to a woman that should be kept hidden, if he doesn't want to hear it from someone else. No matter how loyal or good-natured she is, it would be better to flee the country than tell a woman something that should be kept silent. He should never do any secret deed if he sees a woman come,
Folio 137va
Car s'il i a perill de cors,
Elle dira, bien le recors,
Conbien que longuement atande.
Et se nus riens ne l'an demande,
Le dira ele vraement
Sanz estrange amonestement:
Par nule riens ne s'an teroit;
A son avis, morte seroit
S'il ne li saillet de la bouche,
S'il i a perill ne reprouche.
Et cil qui dit le li aura,
S'il est tex, puis qu'ele saura,
Qu'il l'ose anpres ferir ne batre
Une foiz, non pas ·iij· ne ·iiij·,
Ja plus tost ne la touchera
Comme el le li5 reprouchera.
Mes ce sera tout en apert.
Qui se fie en fame, il la pert,
Et li las qui en lui se fie,
Savez qu'il se fet: il se lie
Les mains, et se cope la gueule,
Car s'il6 une foiz, toute seule,
Ose iames ver lui groucier
Ne chastier ne corroucier,
Il met en tel perill sa vie,
S'il a du fet mort deservie,
Que par le col le fera pendre
Se li iuge le peuent prendre,
Ou martir7 par amis privez,
Tant est a mau port arivez.
for even if there is bodily danger, you may be sure that she will tell it, no matter how long she may wait. Even if no one asks her anything about it, she will certainly tell it without any unusual coaxing; for nothing would she keep silent. To her thinking she would be dead if the secret did not jump out of her mouth, even if she is in danger or reproached. And if the one who told her is such a person that, after she knows, dares strike her or beat her just once, not three or four times, then no sooner than he touches her will she reproach him with his secret, and she will do so right out in the open. He who confides in a woman loses her. And do you know what the wretch who confides in her does to himself? He binds his hands and cuts his throat; for if, just one single time he ever dares grouch at her or scold her or get angry, he puts his life in such danger - if he deserved death for his deed - that she will have him hanged by the neck, if the judges can catch him, or secretly murdered by friends. Such is the unfortunate harbor at which he has arrived.
Folio 137vb

Mes li fos, quant au soir se couche

Et gist lez sa fame en sa couche
Ou reposer ne peut ou n'ose,
Qu'il a fet, espoir, quelque chose
Ou veult par aventure fere
Quelque murtre ou quelque contraire
Dont il craint la mort recevoir
Se l'an le peut apercevoir,
Si se tourne et plaint et soupire;
Et sa fame ver soi le tire
Qui bien voit8 qu'il est a mesese,
Si la plaigne et l'acole et bese
But when the fool goes to bed at night and lies near his wife in his bed, he neither can nor dare be at rest. Perhaps he has done something or wishes to commit some murder or some other unlawful act as a result of which he is afraid for his life if he is caught; so he turns and complains and sighs. His wife, who sees very well that he is uneasy, draws him toward her, caresses him, embraces him and kisses him,
Et se couche antre ses mameles:
'Sire,' fet ele, 'quex noveles?
Que vous fet ainsic soupirer
Et tressaillir et revirer?
Nous somes or priveement
Ici, nous dui tant seulement,
Les persones de tout cest monde,
Vous li primers, ie la segonde,
Qui mieuz nous devons antramer
De queur leal, fin, sanz amer;
Et de ma main, bien m'an9 remambre,
Ai ferme l'uis de nostre chambre;
Et les paraiz, dont mieuz les praise,
Sunt espaisses demie taise;
Et si haut resunt li chevron
Que tuit seür estre i devron;
Et si somes loign des fenestres,
Dont mout est plus seürs li estres
and nestles herself between his breasts.  
Sir,' she says, 'what news? Who makes you sigh thus and jump and turn? Here we two are now alone by ourselves, the only people in this whole world, you the first and I the second, who should love each other best with hearts that are loyal, pure, and without bitterness. I well remember that I closed our chamber door with my own hand; the walls are a half-fathom thick, and I value them more for that reason; the rafters too are so high that we shall be quite safe in that direction. And we are far from the windows and the place is therefore much safer and I value them more for that reason.
Folio 138ra
Quant a noz secre descouvrir:
Si ne les a poair d'ouvrir
San depecier nus hon vivanz
Ne plus que peut fere li vanz;
Briefmant, cist leus n'a point d'oïe,
Vostre voiz ne peut estre oïe
Fors que de moi tant seulement:
Pour ce vous pri piteusement,
Par amor, que tant vous fiaiz
An moi que vous le me diai.'

'Dame,' fet il, 'se dex me voie,

Par nule riens ne le diroie
Car ce n'est mie chose a dire!'
'Avoi!' fet ele, 'biau douz sire,
M'avez vous donc soupeçoneuse,
Qui sui vostre leal espeuse?
Quant par mariage assemblames,
Jhesucrist, que pas ne trovames
De sa grace anver nous echar,
Nous fist, deus,10 estre en une char.
Et quant nous n'avons char fors une,
Par le droit de la loi communne
N'il ne peut en une char estre
Fors ·i· seul queur a la senestre
Tuit i sont donques li queur nostre:
Le mien avez et ie le vostre.
Riens ne peut donc ou vostre avoir
Que li miens ne doie savoir.
Pour ce pri que vous le me dites
Par guerredons et par merites,
As far as revealing our secrets is concerned; furthermore no man living has the power to open them, any more than the wind can, without breaking them. In short this place has no earhole whatsoever, and no one can hear your voice, except for me alone. Therefore, I beg you piteously by our love that you have enough confidence in me to tell me what it is.'
'Lady,' he says, 'may God be my witness, not for anything would I tell it, for it is not a thing to tell.' 'Aha!' she says, 'my fair sweet lord, do you suspect something of me, your faithful wife? When we came together in marriage, Jesus Christ, whom we have not found mean or stingy of His grace, made one flesh of us two, and when we have only one flesh by the right of common law, there can be only a single heart on the left side of one flesh. Our hearts are then both one; you have mine and I yours. You can then have nothing in yours that mine should not know. Therefore I pray you to tell it to me both as a reward and because I deserve it,
Folio 138rb
Car iames ioie au queur n'auré11
Jusque tant que ie le sauré.
Et se dire nou12 me voulez,
Je voi bien que vous me boulez;
Si sai de quel queur vous m'amez,
Qui douce amie me clamez,
Douce suer et douce conpaigne.
A cui parez vous tel chastaigne?
Certes, sou nou13 me gehissiez,
Bien pert14 que vous me traïssiez,
Car tant me suis en vous fiee,
Puis que m'eüstes affiee,
Que dit vous ai toutes les choses
Que i'oi dedanz mon queur ancloses.
Si lessai pour vous pere et mere,
Oncle, neveu, sereur, et frere,
Et touz amis, et touz paranz,
Si comme il est bien apparanz.
Certes, moult ai fet mauvais change
Quant si ver moi vous truis estrange,
Que ie plus ain que riens qui vive;
Et tout ne me vaut une cive,
Qui cuidiez que tant mespreïsse
Ver vous, que voz secrez deïsse!
Cest chose qui ne porroit estre!
Por Jhesucrist le roi celestre,
Qui vous doit mieuz de moi garder?
Plese vous au mains regarder
Se de leauté riens savez,
La foi que de mon cors avez.
"for I shall never have joy in my heart until I know what it is. And if you don't want to tell it to me, I see well that you are deceiving me, and I know with what kind of heart you love me, you who call me sweet lover, sweet sister, and sweet companion. For whom are you peeling this chestnut? Certainly if you don't reveal it to me, it appears indeed that you are betraying me, for I have confided myself to you so much since you married me that I have told you everything that I have enclosed within my heart. And for you I left father and mother, uncle, nephew, sister and brother, and all my friends and relatives, as is very clear. I have certainly made a very bad exchange when I find you so distant toward me. I love you more than anyone living, and it's all not worth a shallot to me. You think that I would misbehave toward you to the extent of telling your secrets, but that is a thing that could not happen. By Jesus Christ, the celestial king, who better than I should protect you? May it please you at least to consider, if you know anything about loyalty, the pledge that you have of my body.
Folio 138va
Ne vous soffist pas bien cist gages?
En volez vous meilleurs hostages?
Donc sui ie des autres la pire,
Se voz secrez ne m'osez dire.
Je voi toutes ces autres fames
Qui sont de leur hostex si dames
Que leur mariz en eus se fient
Tant que touz leur secrez leur dient:
Tuit a leur fames se conseillent
Quant en leur lit ensamble veillent
Et priveement se confessent,
Si que riens a dire ni15 lessent;
Et plus souvent, cest chose voire,
Qu'il ne font neïs au prouvoire.
Par eus meïsmes bien le sai
Car maintes foiz oiz les ai,
Qu'el m'ont tretout reconneü
Quanqu'el ont oï et veü,
Et tout neïs quanqu'eles cuident.
Ainsic s'espurgent et se vuident.
Si ne sui ie pas leur pareille:
Nule ver moi ne s'apareille,
Car ie ne sui pas gangleresse,
Vilotiere ne tanceresse,
Et sui de mon cors preudefame,
Comment qu'il aut vers Dieu de l'ame.
Ja n'oïstes vous onques dire
Que i'aie fet nul avoutire,
Se li foul qui le vous conterent
Par mauvestié nou16 controverent.
Doesn't this pledge suffice you? Do you want a better hostage? Then I am worse than all others if you dare not tell me your secrets. I see all these other women who are sufficiently mistresses of their houses so that their husbands confide in them enough to tell them all their secrets. They all take counsel with their wives when they lie awake together in their beds, and they confess themselves privately so that there is nothing left to tell. Truth it is, they even do so more often than they do to the priest. I know it well from them themselves, for many times I have heard them; they have revealed to me everything, whatever they have heard and seen and even all that they think. In this way they purge and empty themselves. However, I am not like them. None of them is comparable to me, for I am no loose, quarrelsome gossip, and at least, however it may be with my soul and God, I am an honest woman in my body. You have never heard it said that I have committed any adultery unless the fools who told you such a tale invented it maliciously.
Folio 138vb
M'avez vous pas bien esprovee?
Ou m'avez vous fausse trouvee?
Anpres, biau sire, regardez
Comment vostre foi me gardez.
Certes, malemant mespreïstes
Quant anel an doit me meïstes
Et vostre foi me fiançastes!
Ne sai comment fere l'osastes.
S'en moi ne vous osez fier,
Qui vous fist a moi marier?
Pour ce pri que la vostre foiz
Me soit sauve au mains ceste foiz,
Et leaument vous asseüre
Et promet et fiance et iure,
Par le beneüré Saint Pierre,
Que ce sera chose souz pierre.
Certes, mout seroie ore fole
Se de ma bouche issoit parole
Dont eüssiez honte ou domage:
Honte feroie a mon lignage,
C'onques nul ior ne diffamoi,
Et tout premierement a moi.
L'en seut dire, et voirs est sanz faille,
Que tant17 est fos qui son nes taille:
Sa face a touriorz deshoneure.
Dites moi, se Dex vous sequeure,
Ce dont voz queurs18 se desconforte,
Ou, se ce non, vous m'avez morte!'
Lors li debaille piz et mais19 chief,
Et le rebese derechief
Have you tested me well? Have you found me false? Next, fair sir, consider how you keep your faith with me. Certainly you made a bad mistake when you put a ring on my finger and pledged your faith to me. I don't know how you dared do so. If you dare not confide in me, who made you marry me?  
Therefore I beg that your faith may be safe with me at least this time, and I assure you loyally, and promise and pledge and swear, by blessed Saint Peter, that this will be a thing buried under stone. Now certainly I would be a big fool if from my mouth came any speech that would shame or do harm to you. I would be shaming my own family, which I have never defamed on any occasion, and myself first of all. There is a customary saying that is true without fail: He who is fool enough to cut off his nose dishonors his face forever. Tell me, and may God help you, what troubles your heart. If not, you will have me dead.'  
Then she uncovers her chest and head, kisses him again and again
Folio 139ra
Et pleure seur lui lermes maintes,
Antre les beseries faintes.

Adonc li mescheanz li conte

Son grant domage et sa grant honte,
Et par sa parole se pent.
Et quant dit l'a, si s'en repent.
Mes parole une foiz volee
Ne peut puis estre rapelee!
Lors li20 prie qu'ele se21 tese,
Com cil qui plus est a mesese
C'onques avant este n'avoit
Quant sa fame riens n'an savoit.
Et cele li redit san faille
Qu'el s'en tera vaille que vaille.
Mes, li chetis, que quide il fere?
Il ne peut pas sa langue tere:
Or tent a l'autrui retenir!
A quel chief an peut il venir?

Or se voit la dame au deseure

Et set que de quelconques euure
L'osera mes cil courrocier
Ne contre li de riens groucier:
Mu le fera tenir et quoi,
Qu'ele a bien matire de quoi.
Couvenant, espoir, li tendra,
Tant que corrouz antreus vendra.
Encore, s'ele tant atant!
Mes anuiz22 atandra ia tant
Que mout ne li soit grant grevance,
Tant aura le queur en balance.
and between the feints at kissing she weeps many tears over him.
Then the unfortunate wretch tells her his great sorrow and shame and with his words hangs himself. When he has said it he repents; but once a speech has flown away it cannot be called back. Then he begs her to keep quiet, for he is more uneasy than he had ever been before, when his wife knew nothing about it. She in turn tells him without fail that she will keep quiet, no matter what happens. But what does the wretch think he can do? He cannot keep his own tongue silent. Is he going to try now to restrain another's? What result does he think to arrive at?
Now the lady sees that she has the upper hand, and she knows that at no time whatever will he dare get angry at her or grumble at her about anything. Since she has something definite to work with, she will make him keep mute and quiet. Perhaps she will hold to her agreement until they get angry with each other. She will have his heart in balance still more if she waits that long, but she will scarcely ever wait so much that it will not be a great burden to him.
Folio 139rb
Et qui les homes ameroit,
Ce sermon leur preescheroit,
Qui bien fet en touz leus a dire,
Pour ce que chascuns hom s'i mire,
Pour eus du grant peril retrere.
Si porra il, espoir, desplere
Au23 fames qui moult ont de iangles:
Mes verite ne quiert pas angles.

Biau24 seigneur, gardez

vous de25 fames
Se vos cors amez ne vos ames,
Au mains que ia si mal n'ovroiz
Que les secrez leur descovroiz
Que dedanz voz queurs estuiez.
Fuiez, fuiez, fuiez, fuiez,
Fuiez, enfant, fuiez tel beste:
Jou vous conseill et amoneste
San decepcion et san guile.
Et notez ces vers de Virgile,
Mes qu'en vos queurs si les sachiez
Qu'il n'en puissent estre sachiez:
Anfanz qui cueilliez les floretes
Et les freses fresches et netes,
Ci gist li froiz sarpanz en l'erbe:26
Fuiez, anfant, car il anherbe
Et anpoisone et anvenime
Tout homme qui de lui s'aprime.
Enfanz qui les fleurs alez querre
Et les freses nessanz par terre,
Le mau sarpant refredissant
Qui se vet ici tapissant,
If anyone loved men he would preach this sermon to them and would do well to say it in all places so that every man might see himself mirrored in it and be drawn back from his great danger. But such a man could perhaps be displeasing to women, with their gossip. Truth, however, does not seek corners.
Fair lords, protect yourselves from women if you love your bodies and souls. At least never go to work so badly that you reveal the secrets that you keep hidden inside your hearts.  
Flee, flee, flee, flee, flee, my children; I advise you and urge you without deception or guile to flee from such an animal. Note these verses of Virgil, but know them in your heart so that they cannot be drawn out from there: O child who gather flowers and fresh, clean strawberries, here lies the cold serpent in the grass. Flee, child, for he poisons and envenoms every person that comes near. O child, seeking along the earth for flowers and new strawberries, the evil chilling serpent, who goes about here hiding himself,
Folio 139va
La malicieuse couleuvre
Qui son venin repont et queuvre
Et le muce souz l'erbe tandre
Jusqu'a tant qui le27 puisse espandre
Pour vous decevoir et vous grever,
Pansez, anfanz, de l'eschever!
Ne vous i lessiez pas haper
Se de mort veilliez28 eschaper,
Car tant est venimeuse beste
Par cors, et par queue, et par teste,
Que, se de lui vous aprochiez,
Touz vous trouveroiz antochiez;
Qu'il mort et point en treson
Quanqu'il atent, san guerison.
Car de cestui venim l'ardure
Nus tiriacles ne la cure:
Riens ni29 vaut herbe ne racine,
Seul foir an est medecine.

Si ne di ie pas toutevoie

N'onc ne fu l'antancion moie,
Que les fames chieres n'aiez
Ne que si fuir les daiez
Que bien avec eus ne gisiez.
Ainz comment que moult30 les prisiez
Et par reson les essauciez:
Bien les vestez, bien les chauciez,
Et31 touriorz laboroiz
Que les servoiz et honoroiz
Pour continuer vostre espiece
Si que ia mort ne la despiece.
the malicious adder who covers up and conceals his venom, and hides it under the tender grass until he can pour it out to deceive and harm you; O child, give thought to avoiding him. Don't let yourself be seized if you want to escape death, for it is such a venomous animal in body, tail, and head, that if you approach it, you will find yourself completely poisoned, for it treacherously corrodes and pierces whatever it reaches, without remedy. No treacle may cure the burning of that venom. No herb or root is worth anything against it. The only medicine is flight.
However, I do not say, and it was never my intent to say, that you should not hold women dear or that you should flee from them and not lie with them. Instead I recommend that you value them highly and improve their lot with reason. See that they are well clothed and well shod, and labor always to serve and honor them in order to continue your kind so that death does not destroy it.
Folio 139vb
Mes ia tant ne vous i fiaiz
Que chose a tere leur diaiz.
Bien soffrez qu'el aillent et viegnent.
La mesnié et l'ostel maintiegnent
S'el sevent a ce metre cure.
Ou s'il ravient par aventure
Qu'el sachent32 acheter ou vendre,
A ce peuent eus bien entendre;
Ou s'el sevent d'aucun mestier,
Faceient le seus33 an ont mestier.
Et sachent les chases apertes
Qui n'ont mestier d'estre covertes.
Mes se tant vous habandonez
Que trop de poair leur donez,
A tart vous en repentiraiz
Quant leur malice santiraiz.
L'escriture neïs nous crie
Que se la fame a seigneurie,
El est a son mari contraire
Quant il veult rien, ou dire, ou faire.
Prenez vous garde toutevoie
Que l'ostel n'aille a male voie,
Car l'en pert bien en meilleur garde:
Qui sages est, sa chose garde.

Et vous qui ravez vos amies,

Portez leur bones conpaignies.
Bien affiert qu'el sachent chascunes
Assez des besoignes communes.
Mes se preuz restes et senez
Quant antre vos braz les tenez
But never trust them so much that you tell them anything to keep quiet about. Certainly allow them to go and come, to keep up the household and the house if they know how to take care of it; or if it happens by chance that they know how to buy or sell they can busy themselves with such activity; or if they know any trade let them do it if they need to; and let them know about the things that are open and that don't need to be hidden. But if you abandon yourself so much that you give them too much power, you will repent later, when you feel their malice. Even Scripture cries out to us that if the woman has lordship she opposes her husband when he wants to say or do anything. Take care in any case that the house does not go to ruin, for one shows to better advantage when it is well kept. He who is wise takes care of his things.
You, too, who have your sweethearts, be good companions to them. It is a good thing for each of them to know enough about matters of mutual concern. But if you are wise and intelligent you will keep quiet when you hold them in your arms
Folio 140ra
Et les acolez et besiez,
Tesiez, tesiez, tesiez, tesiez!
Pansez de vos langues tenir,
Car riens n'en peut a chief venir
Quant des secrez sunt parçonieres,
Tant sunt orgueilleuses et fieres
Et tant ont les langues cuisanz,
Et venimeuses et nuisanz.
Mes quant li fol sunt la venu
Qu'il sunt antre leur braz tenu,
Et qu'il les acolent et besent
Antre les geus qui tant leur plesent,
Lors n'i peut avoir riens celé:
La sunt li secré revelé.
Ci se desquevrent li mari,
Dont puis sunt dolant et mari.
Tuit ancusent ci leur pansé,
Fors li sage bien apansé.

Dallida la malicieuse,

Par flaterie venimeuse,
A Sanson qui tant iert vaillanz,
Tant preuz, tant forz, tant bataillanz,
Si comme elle tenoit formant
Soef en son giron dormant,
Copa les cheveus a ses forces,
Dont il perdi toutes ses forces,
Quant de ses crins le depela
Et touz ses secrez revela
Que li fos contez li avoit,
Que riens celer ne l'i savoit.
and hug them and kiss them. Be still, still, still. Think about holding your tongue, for nothing can come to any conclusion when they share secrets, so proud and haughty are they, with such corrosive, venomous, and harmful tongues. But when fools come to be held in their arms and hug and kiss them in the games that are so pleasing to them, then nothing can be hidden from them. There the secrets are revealed; there husbands reveal themselves and afterward they are sorry and chagrined. All of them reveal their thoughts except the wise men who have pondered well.
Malicious Dalila, through her poisonous flattery, cut off Samson's hair with her scissors as she held him softly close, sleeping in her lap. As a result, this man who was so valiant, worthy, strong, and fierce in battle, lost all his strength when she thus sheared off his locks. She revealed all his secrets, which the fool, not knowing how to hide anything, had told her.
Folio 140rb
Mes n'an veill plus d'examples dire:
Bien vous peut ·i· por touz soffire.
Salemon neïs an parole
Dont ie vous dirai la parole
Tantost pour ce que ie vous aim:
'De cele qui te dort ou sain,
Garde les portes34 de ta bouche
Pour fuir perill et reprouche.'
Cest sarmon devroit preschier
Quiconques auroit home chier,
Que tuit des fame se gardassent
Si que iames ne s'i fiassent.
Si n'ai ge pas pour vous ce dit,
Car vous avez san contredit
Touriorz esté leaus et ferme.
L'escriture neïs afferme,
Tant vous a Dex done san fin
Que vous estes sage san fin.

Genius ainsic la conforte

Et de quanqu'il peut li anhorte
Qu'el lest du tout son deul ester
Car nus ne35 peut riens conquester
En deul, ce dit, ne en tristece.
C'est une chose qui mout blece
et qui, ce dit, riens ne profite.
Quant il ot sa volanté dite,
san plus fere longue praiere,
si s'assiet en une chaiere
dejouste son autel assise;
et Nature tantost s'est mise
But I don't want to tell you any more examples; one can very well suffice you for all of them. Even Solomon speaks of it, and because I love you I will tell you quickly what he says: 'In order to flee from danger and reproach, guard the gates of your mouth against her who sleeps in your bosom.' Whoever hold men dear should preach this sermon so that they may guard against women and never confide in them.  
Now I have not said these things on your account, for without contradiction you have always been loyal and steadfast. Even Scripture affirms that God has given you such pure sense that you are wise without end.
Thus Genius comforted her and exhorted her by any means that he could to abandon her sorrow entirely.  
It is a thing, he said, that wounds and has no advantage. When he had said what he wanted to, without making a longer plea, he sat down upon a seat placed next to his altar. Nature immediately kneeled down before the priest
Folio 140va
a genouz devant le provaire;
mes, san faille, c'est chose vaire
qu'el ne peut son deul oublier,
n'il ne l'an reveust plus prier,
qu'il i perdroit sa paine toute;
ainz se test, et la dame escoute
qui dit par grant devocion
However, it was undoubtedly true that she could not forget her sorrow. And he, for his part, did not want to plead with her any longer, since he would have wasted all his trouble. Instead, he kept quiet and listened to the lady, who, with great devotion
an plorant, sa confession,
que je ci vos aport escrite
mot a mot, si conme el l'a dite.
and weeping many tears, made her confession. I bring it to you here in writing, word for word, just as she said it.


1This passage corresponds to lines 16327 to 16715 in Armand Strubel's edition and Vol. II, lines 16247 to 16698 in Félix Lecoy's edition.

2N'ainc riens, ce dist, n'ot tant de vice


4connut bien

5Com ele li



8voit bien



11Car jamais au cuer joie n'avré


13se nel





18vostre cuer

19'mais' is missing.





24'Biau' is missing.

25'voz' is missing.

26en l'erbe

27qu'il le



30que vous

31'a ce' is missing.



34la porte