Scott-Moncrieff from to , with a revised translation by Terence Kilmartin in and a further revision by D. J Enright in The seventh and final volume was translated by Frederick Blossom and published in Alternate translations provided as noted. And once again I had recognized the taste of the crumb of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-flowers which my aunt used to give me although I did not yet know and must long postpone the discovery of why this memory made me so happy , immediately the old gray house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like the scenery of a theater.
This labour of the artist to discover a means of apprehending beneath matter and experience, beneath words, something different from their appearance, is of an exactly contrary nature to the operation in which pride, passion, intelligence and habit are constantly engaged within us when we spend our lives without self-communion, accumulating as though to hide our true impressions, the terminology for practical ends which we falsely call life.
File:Chromology The Mirror. The lord commonly claimed not only the right to require the widow to remarry, but also to select her husband. She, too, thus represents an important and recognizable group in thirteenth-century aristocratic society, wealthy young women of high lineage, married as a reward to socially inferior, poorer, older men. She knows him at least by reputation since she knows that he is familiar with court life vv.
On widows in the Middle Ages, see also Hanawalt, pp. Heirs shall be given in marriage without disparagement [i. The lady has already shown herself capable of advising herself, and doing so well, with respect to the way she should conduct herself with the three suitors: A wealthy and powerful lady Was much wooed there As the tale relates, For three knights entreated her Every time they spoke to her; And the lady parted from them Without granting or refusing Her affection to any of the three.
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She parted from all three as a friend As seemed advisable to her. If one puts the two situations together — if a very noble lady is attracted to a knight without his being aware of it, or daring to believe it, and tries to draw him to her by pretending that she needs to talk to him about something, while the knight is likewise attracted to the lady but thinks that she is so noble that he dare not tell her of his desire, does what he can to encourage her to speak to him on some occasion, and then talks to her about love, contentment and joy — one has the framework of the Lai du Conseil.
It is also noteworthy, and a tribute to her judgment, that of all the women at the Christmas Eve gathering, she alone perceives the worth of this knight, whose attractiveness lies in his character rather than his appearance or purse, and calls him to her. All this suggests that her appeal to the knight for advice — which flatters him — is in fact simply a propitious means to start a conversation with him, and demon- strates her talents as an amorous face-worker.
The speed with which he narrows the narrative focus from a hall full of joyful men and women to three men and one woman, to a single man and woman is dizzying. The first one, which is placed at the beginning of the lay in the left-hand column of the manuscript page and separates the lay from the preceding text r1 , shows an arcaded hall filled with standing people engaged in conversation a woman and two men in the left arcade; a woman and three men in the right one.
And he evidently is! The first one is rich, and the knight belittles his wealth vv. When the lady later remembers and mentions that she has heard that the second suitor is also a braggart, the knight launches into a twenty-nine line diatribe against braggarts vv.
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It shows a similarly arcaded hall with only two people seated on a bench a woman in the left arcade and a man in the right engaged in conversation. A similar narrowing of the narrative focus from a wide-angle shot to a close-up occurs at the end of the Lai du cor when the focus shifts from a hall full of feasting people to the chosen couple. He says, first, that he cannot choose for her both because the choice must be hers and because he does not want to say anything that would hurt anyone. He suggests that she ask the advice of other people.
He then goes on, however, to say clearly that he would advise her to choose the third. This discussion of the third suitor may be simply what it appears, but the resemblance between this suitor and the knight is sufficiently striking to give us pause. It may be that the lady merely provides an accurate description of the third suitor and the knight gives her his honest reaction. It may be that she provides an accurate description of the third suitor, whom she knows to be a worthy and attractive person, in order to see how the knight will react: will he be generous and honest enough to praise this praiseworthy man?
It is even possible that the lady enhances the description, or invents parts of it, in order to test the knight more fully. Will he recommend himself to her? And perhaps the knight is not sure how he should react. Should he simply praise a praiseworthy man? What if she is testing him and thinks he is praising himself? Is this third suitor real or allegorical? Who are they talking about now?
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Hence, perhaps, his cautious and rather contra- dictory answer. The descriptions of all three suitors may, of course, be fictive, even within the context of the poem. Perhaps the lady has invented all three descriptions — even if she was indeed approached by three men — in order to test the knight and see what characteristics seem laudable to him, which deplorable; to learn what he values and how he is likely to behave. It is clear she does not want the conversation to end. It is clear she wants to go on talking about love with him.
It is clear she is enjoying herself. Is it clear she is attracted to him? And so when he has answered this question, there is another vv. It is the lady, that is, who calls the knight to her, engages and manages the conversation and decides when it should come to a happy end, who leads the dance from start to finish, as is only appropriate since she is the nobler and wealthier of the two. The manuscripts are not, moreover, unanimous with respect to this line. They are merely puppets in the show of love: they nourish the conversation and perhaps provoke some jealousy in the knight.
On the other hand, we should not forget that the lady has told the knight to take her belt vv. By obeying her command, even if he is more than willing to do so, the knight recognizes her authority over him. She gives him the belt to give and he gives it to himself. In the feudal mind, moreover, such a gift called for a counter-gift to establish a mutual relationship see Le Goff, pp.
One reason for this, as Beston has pointed out, is that the poet removes himself from the poem between lines 4 and and does not provide us with much of the information we need to fully understand who the knight and lady are until relatively late in the poem pp. There are, indeed, a few hints that the lady and the knight not only know each other at least a little before they talk but already find one another mutually inter- esting.
This might be sheer politeness but it might also suggest a certain joy and enthusiasm, or both.
The lady, in turn, spots him, calls him over, starts the conversation, keeps it going, asks him to teach her to love, indicates her availability and interest, and flatters him both directly vv. The Lai du Conseil can thus be read as a remarkably sensitive, subtle and sophisticated story of two people who know one another a little, would like to get to know one another better, take advantage of an opportunity offered to them one Christmas Eve, and end up discovering a life-long companion.
A mirror of faith As other scholars have remarked, the poet of the Lai du Conseil included a multi- faceted mise en abyme in his poem. Like the poor man and the knight-advisor, moreover, the knight-author is without advice, and, unlike the lady, cannot even advise himself vv.
What if she called him over to advise her about love? What if he inherited a large domain? The situation is even further complicated, of course, because one supposes that the knight-author may also be identified with the narrator and the poet. The lay is not unrealistic or utopian. It is realistic and its integration of love and marriage is far better founded and more integral to the story than that found in most other lays.
And if this can happen, if one can visualize its happening, why can it not happen for the poet-knight-author or, indeed, for anyone who hears or reads the lay? The lay thus projects a best-case and thus improbable but not unrealistic scenario in a fictional world similar to that we find projected by numerous other twelfth- and thirteenth-century works. For love cannot be hidden: One lover often leans towards the other.
Dex, qui puet amor tenir Un an ou deus sans descovrir? On the ways in which the projection of this world governed by a God who loves love and lovers might in some way be a form of religious dissent, see Russell. The love-friendly world projected by the poem may not be the orthodox Christian world, or the common world of our experience, but it is certainly no worse, no less realistic, and in fact seems distinctly more pleasant, than many of the other hypothetical worlds with which we surround ourselves.
See also the note to line , below. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, , pp. Ein altfranzosisches Minnegedicht. Jahrhunderts, ed. Benton ; rpt. Levy, trans. Wolfgang, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Tolkien and E. Gordon, 2nd edn rev. Levinson, Politeness. Imitation, Rewriting, and Transmission in the French Tradition, ed.
Studi in onore di Giancarlo Fasano, ed. Miscellanea di studi in memoria di Paola Sgrilli, ed. Historical Essays, —, ed. Altmann and Carleton W. Carroll Cambridge: D. Brewer, , pp. Also published separately under the same title Brussels: Fr. A History of Women in the Middle Ages, trans. Text f. Cele feste fu molt joianz. CET — a] de B — a biaus diz veut bien] v. Decorated capital in ACD, preceded by an illumination in D; space left for decorated capital in B; initial letter in margin E.
ET — De bons mos i porroit apendre B. Decorated capital in ms. There were many married ladies And unmarried ones as well. They spoke of love in many places there, 16 Both the men and the women who were in love. This feast was most joyous. Maddox p.
De toz. Line missing in E. One syllable too many in original De toz. Illumination in D between lines 36 and She parted from all three as a friend1 As seemed advisable to her. She called him right away. The knight jumped to his feet, 32 And went to sit beside her Where the lady had called him. Three knights entreat my love And tell me insistently that they would like To have my undivided love. In its broadest sense, it refers to everything that is material and subject to time and decay as opposed to the timeless, spiritual world. In this poem, it generally has the more limited meaning of worldly or aristocratic society.
Line missing in B. Decorated capital in C. Lines 59—60 inverted in CE. Lines 61—62 missing in D. But you have not yet told me, Gracious lady, may God help me, Why I must recommend to you 52 The one you should most love. But tell me what you know About their qualities from head to toe. Or me dites donc la maniere 72 Des autres, douce dame chiere.
Li uns des. Est molt biaus, mes petit est preus. Grant terre a et grant chasement Mes molt le tient mauvesement. Syllable lacking in original represented by E: Or me dites la maniere? Decorated capital in ACD. Lines 83—84 missing in B. He is rich in land and possessions. Now tell me, then, about the manner 72 Of the others, dear gracious lady.
One of the two Is very handsome, but not very courageous. His body 76 Is so handsome, so tall, so strong That it seems a marvel, And yet it is not worth a ewe. He has a great deal of land and many properties But manages it very badly. Il est de molt lasche corage Mes molt est biaus et acesmanz. Et du tiers que me dites vous?
This line is repeated in D. E adds one line between 87 and Et de son cors bien acemans. E adds one line between 88 and Dist li chevaliers en riant. Lines 90—99 are incomplete in E. Decorated capital in D. C — belement] noblement B, cointement D, richement E. Lines 97—98 are inverted in BD. He is a coward in his heart But he is very handsome and well groomed.
The second suitor is very handsome, rich, noble and well-connected. Based on what the lady says later, he is evidently also vain see vv. It is, of course, possible that she dwells on his looks precisely in order to see if she can provoke the knight to jealousy. Si ne fu onques nul jor laz col. D, missing in E. B — Tuit chil qui sont de lui a. He has never tired for a single day Of acting as honourably as he can, Insofar as his riches and possessions And wealth permit. He knows very well how to behave elegantly, But is not proud or envious.
And yet I have often heard tell That, even mounted on many poor packhorses, He has often been acclaimed the winner at the end of the day Because he had surpassed the whole band of knights That were there. Et vous qui volez maintenir, Douce dame, amors et garder, Por Dieu, penez vous du celer toz] ces E — vous sai plus] v. He is not at all wise who has His love shouted in the town square,3 For just as one needs Tinder to light a fire In the forest or on the sea, So one needs secrecy to love: Anyone who wants joy and honour Cannot enjoy it otherwise.
The first suitor, who is outstanding for his warlike character see vv. Both the first and second suitors, that is, are vain and cannot imagine that she will refuse them. See lines 88— For images of the bretesche of Saint-Omer, see Derville, p. Et li tiers conment vous en proie? E — maine] mainent D — molt] missing in E — granz bobanz] joie g. Compare lines , E — veut] doit B. Large capital in margin E. C, a cele sor le marbre E. Those who lack foresight Lead the showiest lives; This is why one must take care, For love wants to be kept very secret.
Just as the dew Steals up the tree And over the marble in the church Where it never rains nor blows, So good love Must walk among people In such a way that no one perceives anything of it; For when love is perceived It is betrayed and frustrated. And the third, how does he entreat you? B adds one line between lines and Ce que je sai a esciant. Lines —76 missing in E; lines —77 missing in D. Lines —78 missing in B. B — trere] retraire E. He hides his intentions in every way As if he had nothing to hide.
Syllable lacking in original represented by C: Doit bien estre refusez? It is right, rather, for you to choose your companion According only to your own desire. But this one has too many bad qualities According to what you have told me, And a handsome bad man, may God help me, Should indeed be turned away. Li vanterres rist dont cil pleure Qui veut estre leaus amis.
B, En plusors leus C, En maint lieus D. Syllable lacking in original Il a proesce et savoir? The braggart laughs at that which makes Him who wishes to be a loyal companion cry. Compare line B, Par foit dame fait ilh E — non] nou BD. Nothing bad comes from good love, Whatever is bad comes from wicked men who are foolish and disloyal, Who want to make a mockery of love And are always readier to lie Than a sparrow-hawk is to fly. The lady says more-or-less three things. First, that they are in no hurry and have plenty of time to talk, which suggests that she is enjoying talking to him compare lines , , and She is, in any case, signaling her interest strongly to the knight.
Dame, qui tele vie maine Sanz coust, sanz travail, et sanz paine Veut en. E Cil] Si B. Decorated capital in AD. Decorated capital in C; large initial in margin E. C, deproie en D, requeors en E. Lady, whoever lives such a life Without cost, without effort, without distress, Wants to be loved in a hundred places.
If there is a lady or a young woman Who is young, pleasing and beautiful, She will soon be wooed by many men, And wooed in many ways. One will woo her with entreaty 1 See the note to line Cil est amis en regardant. Il la sert et done joiaus. E — Et cil la vuet bien essaucier B. Lines — 80 inverted in BC. He is a companion-by-gazing.
He serves her and gives her jewelry. He sends her clasps, belts, And rings, and if she accepts them, Then he thinks there is no way he can fail, But thinks, rather, that she is indeed his companion. B, De. D, De. BE, Ne ne s. Lines —84 missing in E. What can she do, since she hopes That each one loves her when he entreats her And shows her the path of love? When she lies alone in her bed And thinks of the great pleasure To be had in this world, of which she has no part,1 Nature comes and lies next to her. And the scandalmongers who see this2 Quickly portray it in the worst light.
Ainsi en dient lor bufois Cil qui ne sevent pas. Lines —16 inverted in B. Those who know peanuts About this world and live thoughtlessly Speak presumptuously when they say this, For by reason and by right, A woman must be congenial. We should not slander them, For we all need a doctor To cure the illness that afflicts us: It comes from our willingness To say offensive and villainous things. We are all so full of envy That we have ruined this world because of it, So that it has neither power nor strength, And joy, contentment and tourneying Have all come to nothing.
Mains hom cuide estre de haut pris De sa honte et de son domage. Qui ainsi, dame, porroit fere, Miex en devroit au siecle plere, Mes poi en est de si eslis. Si preus, si sages, si cortois Decorated capital in A. BE, D. Many men think they are of great worth Because of their shame and their loss. This world should be better pleased, Lady, by whoever acted in this way,2 But there are few such chosen ones. Trop covendroit son chief debatre, Qui tout voudroit bien metre a point.
C, couvient s. Lines —46 missing in B. Lines —58 missing in D. This, lady, is why one must be patient And listen to both the fool and the wise person And sometimes give license to evil. This is why I want To know how to keep it well secret If I should desire to love. Aprenez moi que je doi fere Por plus bel couvrir mon afere. A — vous an pri molt B] v. C — doucement BC] seur toute rien A. C — dames] fames C. Teach me what I must do To hide my affairs more seemingly. Turn a deaf ear to them quickly As soon as you are aware of their slander. Chastiez les sanz vilonie, Si que por ce ne lessent mie Ne vous ne la vostre acointance.
Soiez lor debonere et franche Et celanz de vostre couvine. Be good-natured and frank with them While keeping your intentions secret. And if one of them must know Who has the means to help you, Do not ever, for this reason, Show a more cheerful countenance to her Than to others in front of other people; Get her advice in private instead And conduct your affairs so well, That no one has any suspicion of wrong-doing.
For scandalmongers are always, Lady, ready to slander, And when people start spending time together It is rare that no one suspects that some villainy is afoot. Lady, beware of the longing That dwells in many places throughout the country And makes people pensive. Ce ne vient pas de grant savoir. B — ne valor] missing in B — ne2] ne de B.
It is handed out handily For everyone has plenty of it. This is not very bright. Dame qui maine tel usage Le faucon resamble ramage Qui est de dure afetison. Lines —28 missing in D. For rime, compare lines —98, — Decorated capital in A. C, esche D. Such men have nothing of what they want except the longing. Lady, for the same reason, I tell you that if there is a merry, Cheerful, and attractive knight Traveling through the country, There will be longing women Who will never delight in his company. A lady who behaves in this way Resembles the wild falcon Which is hard to train.
The good-natured falcon is thought to be stout, And the bad-tempered one is thought to be so base That it can never be haughty; At least it is Of no use at all. The falconer carries it Until a freeze takes it by surprise 1 We are not absolutely sure of the translation here. Brook appears to interpret these lines in the same way p. Si le covient a la mort traire.
Many a lady holds her body dear And adorns it with beautiful clothes, But does not know how to train her heart To seize a good thing, if she sees one; Her heart is, rather, obsessed with one thing And cannot let it go. She perhaps regrets Having turned away some man She would like to have back if she could. But what has gone will not be back, 1 Kaufman notes that at least one treatise on falconry, of which a French translation is to be found in a late-thirteenth-century manuscript, recommends the flesh of a freshly killed and thus still warm hen as part of a treatment for a falcon that has caught a cold pp.
Mar acointai la bee! C, pres de n. B, li cheval D. Lines —74 inverted in D. She should go away since it is already mid-afternoon1 And her ship is ready at the dock With its sails already raised. She has said goodbye to youth. Her bridleless horse carries her away. Then she sets her mind entirely On hanging on to her youth. What a shame that I ever knew longing! Dame, or vous dirai bien conment col.
B, Quant r. Lines a—b missing in A. Lines — missing in D. You have already heard, perhaps, 1 A reference, it seems, to the judging of souls. Tout ce est voirs.
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Decorated capital CD. Lines —14 missing in D. Lines —18 missing in B. BC — ses] missing in B. A, vous plait en f. It is altogether true. We can take it for granted. We shall be judged according to our ends. If a woman has satisfied Herself, has indulged her desires As much as she wished and as pleased her, Secretly and at her leisure, And has delighted her body well Beneath the flower, beneath the fruit, Beneath the leaf in a hidden garden, Indulged herself in lovely rooms, Known the contentment of holding her companion Day and night in her arms.
Although I could, lady, say Much more about this, if I wanted to, I should remain silent about the rest. The men and women who live 1 This is an allusion to Romans 8.
But I will never say anything about them, For they should not be related in a tale. Lor mesfez les fet repentir De si bon cuer entirement Que Jhesu Criz generaument, Lor pardone toz lor pechiez, Qui est dignes et droituriers Et bien nous moustre la samblance: Longis le feri de la lance Et erramment li pardona Por ce que Longis li cria Merci par bone repentance. A — De quoi il les voit entichiez B. One syllable too many in original represented by B: Onques ne vous en desesperez? Their offence makes them repent So wholly and whole-heartedly That Jesus Christ nobly Forgives them all their sins.