Version classiqueVersion mobile

An Anglo-Norman Reader

 | 
Jane Bliss

An Anglo-Norman Miscellany

Grammar and Glosses

Texte intégral

La Maniere de Langage1

  • 1 Dean 281; it was revised between 1396 and 1415, for the instruction of a well-born youth. ‘The All (...)
  • 2 ‘France 1913’ (in Kipling, The Years Between, pp. 15–16).

… side by side we lay Fretting in the womb of Rome to begin our fray. Ere men knew our tongues apart…2

  • 3 Although French was being taught as an unfamiliar language by this date, Trevisa describes English (...)
  • 4 In Oxford, All Souls College, 182.
  • 5 See Kristol’s Introduction.
  • 6 For Orleans and its tourist attractions, see Introduction to The Mirror of Justices, ed. Whittaker, (...)

1This chapter presents some parts of a medieval ‘Berlitz Guide’, designed for Britishers to improve their foreign language skills.3 ‘The All Souls Continuation’,4 chosen for this book, is noted by Dean in her catalogue as one of several versions. With reference to the Cambridge text, the other published version, she remarks ‘Kristol… derives three Manieres from redactions and fragments in these six MSS and others’; this gives some idea of the complexity of the manuscript tradition.5 All the passages in this All Souls (Oxford) version match passages in the version(s) edited by Kristol (‘de 1396’, page numbers noted below), but each is different enough to be worth reproducing and translating here. Of special interest is the passage about a mysterious ‘Colin T’ and the Brazen Head.6

  • 7 New research on the Manieres is currently in train, towards a workshop in Oxford to be held in Nove (...)

2Presentation of this curious and amusing work is complicated by the fact that Kristol’s edition (1995) was published after the ‘All Soul’s Continuation’(1993); therefore Fukui, who edited the Oxford text presented here, could not know Kristol’s edition. My inclusion of Fukui’s version is designed to facilitate comparison of the two available versions, given that Kristol’s notes are in French and thus perhaps not convenient for all readers.7

  • 8 Compare Kristol’s pp. 32–4.
  • 9 His note on p. 88 is one in which he corrects Fukui’s faulty reading.
  • 10 Compare Kristol’s p. 45, which is headed ‘The Author’s letter to his Patron’.
  • 11 It is probable the author is male, because so many of the texts whose authors we know are written b (...)

3It will be seen that the speakers in the first dialogue address each other with what looks like excessive politeness; I am reluctant to omit any of the salutations, but have allowed myself some freedom in translating ‘dear good sir’, ‘my very fair friend’, and so on.8 For the second dialogue, compare Kristol’s pp. 24–5; the latter part of it is represented by the passage on Kristol’s p. 36.9 However, I reproduce Fukui’s text as edited, with corrected readings only where they affect the sense, to save a good deal of flipping back and forth between editions. This second conversation reads less like a lesson in language practice and more like a piece of comic drama. The third and final section departs from imagined dialogue:10 it is the author’s explanation of and introduction to the foregoing work, instead of a preface; it may be compared with (for example) that of Wace or of Clement’s author. Note that the author dedicates what s/he calls ‘traitis’ and ‘livre’ to an unnamed patron,11 excusing any faults of language. It also casts an eye beyond the patron to the audience: all who will read the book. As with other writers, doubling of near synonyms (‘traitee e compilee’, ‘entendu et apris’, ‘franceis ou romanz’) is presumed to be for emphasis and nuance of meaning; I therefore translate such doublets as they stand.

4The text follows Fukui very closely, but I have slightly modernized the punctuation of speech. Line numbers, including unnumbered line-breaks, are copied from that edition.

Text

The First Dialogue

[314a]
‘Mon tres gentil sire, Dieu vous beneit!’[1]

‘Mon tres doulz amy, je pri a Dieu qu’il vous donne bonne
encontre. [vel sic] Sire, Dieux vous beneit et la compaignie !’
‘Beau sire, dont venez vous, s’il vous plaist? [vel sic] De
que part venez vous, mon tres doulz amy, mais qu’il ne vous [5]
desplaise ?’
‘Vraiement, sire, je vien tout droit de Venyse.’
‘He! mon amy, c’est une ville de Lumbardie ?’
‘Oil, vraiement, beau sire, si est.’
‘Par mon serement, mon tres gentil sire, j’en ay grand joy de [10]
vous que vous estez si bien travaillé, depuis que vous estez
si jones, car je pance bien que vous n’avez pas encore. xxx.
ans.’
‘Si ay je vraiment et plus. Mais pour ce que je sui bien
sains et joliet ou cuer, la Dieu mercy, l’en me dit que je [15]
sui plus jones que je ne sui pas.’
‘Ore, sire, est Venyse une belle et grande ville ?’
‘Oil, vraiement, sire, c’est la plus bealle ville et la plus
noble port qui soit en tout le monde, si come m’a l’en dit en cel
pais la, qui out travaillé partout.’ [20]

‘Et de que pais estez vous, beau tres doulz amy, mais qu’il ne
vous deplaise ?’
‘Vrayement, sire, je sui de France.’
‘Et de que ville, s’il vous plaist ?’
‘De Parys, sire.’ [vel sic] [25]
‘En que pais estiez vous nee, beau sire, s’il vous plaist ?’
‘Vraiement, sire, je fu nee ou roialme de France.’
‘En que ville, beau sire ?’
‘En Parys, sire, si Dieu [314b] m’ait.’
‘Vraiement, sire, je vous en croy bien, car vous parlez bien [30]
et gracieusement doulz franceis. Et pour ce, il me fait grand
bien et esbatement ou cuer de parler avec vous de vostre
beau language, car c’est la plus gracieus parler que soit ou
monde et de tous gens mieulz prisee et amee que nul autre. Et
coment vous est a vis, beau sire, de tres bealle citee de Paris ? [35]

Translation

The First Dialogue

5‘My good sir, may God bless you!’

6‘My dear good friend, I pray God to grant your meetings will be fortunate!’

7[or this:]

8‘Sir, God bless you and your company!’

9‘Good sir, where do you come from, please?’

10[or this:]

11‘What part are you from, my good friend, if you don’t mind my asking?’

12‘In truth, my friend, I’ve just come from Venice.’

13‘Oh, my dear fellow, is that a town in Lombardy?’

14‘Yes indeed, sir, it is.’

  • 12 ‘travailler’ means ‘travel’, not ‘work’ as in modern French (see p. 157 of the edition). Another co (...)

15‘Well I must say, good sir, I am delighted for you, that you’re so well travelled,12 since you are so very young. I can’t believe you are thirty yet!’

16‘Oh yes I am, and more! But because I’m healthy and happy, thank God, people think I’m younger than I really am.’

17‘Now, friend, is Venice a large fine town?’

  • 13 It is possible that the same person continues the speech, asking a question in his turn, after the (...)

18‘Oh yes, sir, indeed it is! It is the most beautiful city, and the noblest port, in all the world; this is what people tell me there, who have travelled everywhere.’13

19‘And what country are you from, my fine friend, if you don’t mind my asking?’

20‘Indeed, sir, I’m from France.’

21‘From which town, please?’

22‘From Paris, my friend.’

23[or this:]

24‘In what country were you born, sir, if you please?’

25‘Indeed, sir, I was born in the kingdom of France.’

26‘In which town, my friend?’

  • 14 Lit: ‘God help me’, but (given what follows) the modern expression will not do here.

27‘In Paris, sir, as God is my guide.’14

  • 15 One might speculate whether the other really speaks ‘better’ French than this one does.

28‘Ah, yes, friend, I can well believe you, because you speak beautiful French so well and gracefully!15 This is why I’m so pleased and delighted to talk with you in your lovely language, because it is the most elegant in all the world. It is more beloved and prized than any other. And what do you think, my friend, of the fine city of Paris?’

‘Vrayement, sire, il m’est a vis que ne vi oncques mais jour
de ma vie si belle citee come ce est, toutes choses acompteez,
car il en y a tant de si beaux chasteux, si grans forteresses et si
haultes maisons et fortes, et que sont si honestement
apparailliez que, si vous les eussiez veu, vous en seroiez [40]
trestout esbahiz.’
‘Vraiement, sire, il peut bien estre veritable ce que vous
ditez. He! pleust a Dieu et a la Vierge Marie, mon tres doulz
amy, que je seusse si bien et gracieusement parler franceis
come vous savez, car vraiement j’en feusse doncques bien aise [45]
a cuer.’
‘Par Nostre Dame de Clery, je vouldroy que vous seussiez.
Mais toutesvoies, vous parlez bien assés, ce m’est a vis, car je
pance bien que vous y avez demouree grand piece, depuis que
vous parlez si bien et plainement la language.’ [50]
‘Par saint Pol, sire, je n’y fu oncques mais.’
‘Et coment savez vous parler si bien donques ?’
‘Vraiement, sire, si come je m’ay acoustumee a parler entre
les gentils de ce pais [314c] icy.’
‘Seinte Marie, j’en sui bien esbahis coment vous le pourrez [55]
aprendre en ce pais, car vous parlez bien a droit hardiement.’
‘Save vostre grace, beau sire, non fais.’
‘Par Dieu, si faitez aussi bien et gentilment come se vous
eussiez demouree a Paris ces vint ans, car vraiement je n’oy
oncques mais Englois parler françois si bien a point ne si [60]
doulcement come vous faitez, ce m’est a vis toutesvoies.’
‘He! sire, je vous remercy de ce que vous me prisez plus que
je ne sui pas dignes. Toutesvoies et pour ce, je sui tousjours
a vostre gentil comandement en quanque je pourrai faire pour
l’amour de vous.’ [65]
‘Et vraiement, beau sire, vous estes tres bien venu en ce pais.
[vel sic] Et par m’ame, sire, vous estez tres bien venu ciens.’
‘Grand mercy, mon tres gentil sire, de vostre grand gentilesse
et courtoisie. Beau sire, feustez vous oncques mais a Rouan en
Normandie?’ [70]
‘Nonil, vrayement, sire, je n’y fu oncques jour de ma vie, mais
j’ay esté autre part en beaucoup de lieux, a Tours en Toureyn;
j’ay esté au Bloys, a Chartres et a Aurilians aussi bien.’
‘A! Aurilians. Sainte Marie, c’est bien loins de cy, car c’est
bien pres au bout de la monde, si com nen dit en ce pais icy.’ [75]
‘Vraiement, sire, ils sont bien fols qui le cuident, car c’est
ou mylieu du roialme de France.’

29‘Well, sir, I honestly think I have never in my life seen such a lovely city as that, in every way. For there are so many fine castles, great fortresses, big strong houses which are so bravely done up that if you’d seen them you would be absolutely astonished.’

30‘I’m sure it’s true what you’re saying, friend. Oh, if only it would please God and the Virgin Mary, my dear sir, to make me speak French as well and elegantly as you can! I’d be so happy if I could.’

31‘By Our Lady of Clery, I wish you could. But in fact you speak quite well enough, I think; it’s my guess you’ve spent a long time there, because you speak the language so well and clearly.’

32‘By Saint Paul! I’ve never been there!’

33‘But how can you speak so well, then?’

  • 16 ‘gentils’ ought to mean ‘gentlefolk’, sc. upper class. It is a fair generalization to say that bett (...)

34‘To tell the truth, I’ve made a habit of conversing with well-bred people of this country.’16

35‘By Saint Mary, I am astonished at how well you’ve been able to learn in this country. You speak accurately and confidently.’

  • 17 ‘Saving your grace’ (note the English spelling) sounds too archaic.

36‘Excuse me,17 sir, but really I don’t.’

37‘My God, you do it as well and elegantly as if you’d been living in Paris these twenty years! Really, I’ve never heard an Englishman speaking French so well and so fluently as you do. That’s what I think, anyway!’

  • 18 The Englishman speaks, thanking the Frenchman for his compliments. Therefore the next speech ought (...)

38‘Oh, thank you sir! You praise me far more than I deserve. For this, anyway, I shall be at your very distinguished service, whatever I might be able to do for the sake of your friendship.’18

39‘Truly, my dear sir, you are very welcome to this country.’

40[or this:]

41‘By my soul, friend, you are very welcome here.’

42‘Many thanks indeed, sir, for your great kindness and courtesy. Sir, have you ever been to Rouen in Normandy?’

43‘No, honestly not, my friend! Never in my life. But I’ve been to other parts, and many places: to Tours in Touraine… and I’ve been to Blois, to Chartres, and to Orleans too.’

44‘Ah, Orleans! By Saint Mary, that’s a long way off! It’s just about at the end of the world, at least that’s what they say around here.’

45‘Really? They must be mad to believe that, for it’s right in the middle of the kingdom of France!’

‘Est Aurilians une beau ville ?
‘Oil, sire, si Deu m'ait, la plus belle que soit ou roial[314d]me de
France après Paris. Et aussi il en y a un grand estude des loys, [80]
car les plus vaillanz et les plus gentilx clers qui sont ou
cristiantee y repairent pour estudier en civil et canon.’
‘Mon tres doulz amy, je vous en croy bien, mais toutesvoies j’oy
dire que l’anemy y apprent ses desciples de nigromancie en une
teste.’ [85]
‘Pas voir, par saint Jaques. Toutesvoies, il y avoit jadys un
Englois qu’estoit fort nigromancien qui est a nom Colyn T., qui
savoit faire beaucoup de mervailles par voie de nigromancie.’
‘Sire, ce n’est pas chose creable, mais qu’il ne vous desplaise,
car je say bien que n’y fut oncques mes estude de tel fatras. Mais [90]
j’oy bien dire que souleit estre entre les Espaniols mescreans.
E pour ce, ne le croiez mie.’
‘Sire, je vous croy bien.’
‘Ore, alons boire, sire, s’il vous plaist.’
‘Grant mercy, beau sire.’ [95]
‘Bevez a moy, sire, je vous em pri.’
‘Vous comencerez, s’il vous plaist.’
‘Pur Dieu, non ferai.’
Et puis dit l’autre, quant il a bu:
‘Sire, grand mercy de voz grans biens et despenses’ [vel sic] [100]
‘Grant mercy de voz biens.’
‘Il n’y a de quoy, beau sire.’
‘Si est vraiement, car se je vous pourrai jamais veoir en mon
pais, je vous rendrai bien la grand gentrise que ore m’avez
fait par la grace de Dieu.’ [105]
‘Ore, je recomande a vous et je pri a Dieu qu’il vous donne
santee et paix.’
‘Mon tres gentil sire, a Dieu vous comande et vous donne
bon[315a] ne vie et longe.’

46‘Is Orleans a beautiful city?’

  • 19 ‘God help me’, see note above.

47‘Oh yes, friend, as God’s my witness,19 it’s the loveliest in the whole kingdom of France except for Paris. And there is also a great law-school, for the worthiest and noblest clerks in all Christendom go there to study both civil and canon [law].’

  • 20 Cf. Kristol, p. 34, ‘une teste d’aresme’, that is, the Brazen Head of legend (discussed in The Brew (...)

48‘I believe you, my fine friend. But all the same, I do hear tell the Devil teaches necromancy to his disciples there, from inside a head.’20

  • 21 Confusion between ‘nigromancy’ (from the word for black) and ‘necromancy’ (magic performed with the (...)

49‘That’s a lie, by Saint James! But indeed there was once an Englishman, a great necromancer called Colin T., who could perform all manner of wonders by means of his black art.’21

50‘This is quite incredible, I’m sorry! I’m certain there was never such a thing as courses teaching this nonsense! But I’ve heard it said there used to be some among those heathen Spanish. But for all that, don’t you believe it.’

51‘No, but I do believe you!’

52‘Come on now, please let’s go and have a drink!’

53‘Oh, thank you, friend!’

  • 22 This must mean the speaker is offering to pay (see ‘despenses’, below), unless it is simply a polit (...)

54‘Drink my health, I beg you.’22

55‘Oh please, you go first!’

56‘No, no, I insist!’

57And then the other one says, as soon as he has drunk:

58‘Sir, I would like to thank you for your great kindness and generosity.’

59[or this:]

60‘Many thanks for your kindness.’

61‘But not at all, dear friend.’

  • 23 Lit. ‘see’.

62‘But I mean it, because if ever I could meet23 you in my country, I’d be able to repay the noble kindness you have shown me here, by God’s grace.’

  • 24 ‘recomande’; there are several possible meanings, but in this context one speaker commends the othe (...)

63‘Now I must take my leave of you.24 May God keep you in health and peace!’

64‘My very dear friend, I commend you to God, and [may he] give you a good life and a long one.’

The Second Dialogue

De parler entre compaignons qi demourent ensamble en un hostel, [110]
quant il se devent aler coucher.
‘Guilliam, avez vous fait nostre lit ?’
‘Nonil.’
‘Vraiement ? Vous, bien meschant, que nostre lit est encore a
faire. Sourdez vous le cul e alez vous faire nostre lit, je vous [115]
em pri, car je vouldroy estre endormy, [vel sic] car je dormisse
tres voulantiers, si je feusse couchee.’
‘He! beau sire, me laissez vous chaufer bien les piés
premerement, car j’en ay grant froit.’
‘Et coment le pourrez vous dire pour verité, quant il fait si [120]
grand chaut ?’
‘Alumez la chaundelle e va traire de vin, se vous vueillez,
car je ne me bougerai ja.’
‘Qu’il le meschie que vous en donnra a boire, car je m’en irai
querre du vin pour moy mesmes e pour Johan, e par Dieu, se [125]
je puis, vous ne bevez mais huy, a cause de vostre malvaise
voulantee.’
‘Vraiement, Perot, vous estes bien malvais. Je pri a Dieu qu’il
vous meschie.’
‘Teis toy, senglant, hideus garçon, vilain mastin, meschant [130]
paillart, cornart qui tu es, ou tu en avra des horions, que tu
les sentiras de cy as quatre jours.’
Doncqs, il lui donne un bon buffe sur la jouue, ainsi disant:
‘Dieu met toy mal an quoy me respondiez vous ainsi !’
Et l’autre se comence a plorer e dit: [135]
‘Je pri a Dieu que tu peus rumpre le col avant [315b] que tu t’en iras
hors de ciens, ou bougeras de ciens.’
‘Par Dieu, il te feust mieulx taiser, si ques tu n’as plus de
damage.’
‘Vraiement, je ne suffrerai ja plus estre batu de vous. J’amasse [140]
mieulx encore demourer la ou nul me cognoissoie qu’a rester plus
longuement icy.’
‘He! Guilliam. Ne vous chaille! Je ne vous ferai ja plus de mal.’
‘Ore, buvons nous tost et alons coucher!’
‘Guilliam, ou alez vous?’ [145]
‘Je m’en vais amont.’
‘Beau sire, je vous em pri que vous couvrez le feu par moment,
et oustez ces busses et tysons tost, et boutez les carbons e les
breis ensamble, e mettez dessuz les cendres. E puis nous en irons
coucher.’

The Second Dialogue

65This is for a conversation among companions who are staying in a lodging together, when it’s time to go to bed.

66‘William! Have you made our bed?’

67‘Nope.’

68‘What?

69You are a slacker, when our bed still hasn’t been made! Get off your backside and go and make our bed, if you please. I really want to go to sleep.’

70[or this:]

71‘I’d go off to sleep like anything, once in bed.’

72‘Oh come on, boss, do let me get my feet warm first. They’re freezing!’

73‘How on earth can you say that, when it’s so hot?’

  • 25 ‘va traire’ is the ‘familiar’ form, unlike the rest of this passage. There is a passage in second p (...)

74‘Light the candle and go and draw some wine,25 if you want; I’m not moving from here.’

75‘Bad luck to anybody who gets a drink for you! I’m going to get some wine, just for myself and John. By God, if it was up to me, you’d never drink again, you’re in such a bad mood.’

76‘Oh Peter, you’re impossible! God give you bad luck yourself!’

77‘Shut up, you bloody horrible brat, you ugly dog, beastly good-for-nothing, cuckold that you are, or you’ll get such a bashing that you’ll still feel four days from now!’

78Then he gives him a savage blow on the cheek, saying:

79‘May God send you such troubles, for answering me back like that!’

80The other starts crying, and says:

81‘God send you break your neck before you leave here — before you stir a step from here!’

82‘God had better make you shut up before you get worse coming to you!’

83‘Oh really! I won’t put up with you beating me any more. I’d rather stay somewhere nobody knows me, than stay here any longer!’

84‘Ah, William! You can stop worrying, I won’t hurt you any more.’

  • 26 In Kristol’s version, all three of these speeches are by the same person (sc. ‘Perot’, who has been (...)

85‘All right then, let’s have a quick drink and go to bed.’26

86‘William! Where are you going?’

87‘I’m off upstairs.’

  • 27 Kristol has ‘premerement’, thus meaning ‘before you go’.

88‘Friend, I beg you please to cover the fire now,27 and quickly take out those logs and brands. And shove the cinders and the embers together, putting ash over the top. And then we can go to bed.’

  • 28 The section ends here in Kristol’s version, but on his p. 36 is a passage corresponding to, but sho (...)
  • 29 The edition is incorrectly lineated, probably because of a page-turn (there is no line 179).

Et puis aprés, ils s’en vont a leur chambre amont. Et quant
ils seront la, l’un demandera a l’autre ainsi:
‘Ou est Briket le petit chien, e Florette la petite chienne ?’
‘Je ne say my ou Briket est devenuz. Mais toutesvoies, Florette
s’en est couchee aval dessoubz les chesnes qui gisent ou jardyn.’28[155]
Guilliam, deschaucez vous tost e lavez voz jambes, e puis les
ressuez d’un drapelet e els frotez bien pour l’amour de puces,
qu’ils ne se saillent mye sur voz jambes, car il y a grand coup
gisanz en le poudre soubz les junx.’
Et puis il s’en vait coucher. Doncques dit il a l’autre: [160]
‘Traihez vous la, car vous estez si froit que je ne puis pas
endurer que vous me touchez point. Et dormeons, par Dieu,
car j’en ay grand mestier, a cause que j’ay veillez toutes ces [315c]
deux nuys passez sanz dormir.’
‘Que, dea ! vous estez bien chaut, ore que vous suez si fort!’ [165]
‘He! les puces me mordent fort e me font grand mal et damage,
car je m’ay gratee le dos si fort que le sanc se coule. Et pour
ce je comence a estre roignous et tout le corps me mange
tres malement. Et pour ce je m’en vai demain pour estre
estufee sanz plus targer, car j’en ay tres grande necessitee.’ [170]
‘He! Guilliam, que vous estez bien suef de corps. Pleust a Dieu
que je fus si suef et si nette come vous estez !’
‘He! Perot, ne me tuchez point, je vous em pri, car je sui bien
chatilleus.’
‘He! Guilliam, je vous chatoillerai tresbien.’ [175]
‘Doncques, par Dieu, beau sire, finez vous, car il est hault
temps a dormir.’
‘Mais huy, par l’amur Nostre Dame, toutesvoies c’en fait mon.’29
‘Ore, ne parlons plus doncques, mais dormons fort et estraignez [180]
la chandelle.’
‘Guilliam, Dieu vous donne bonne nuyt, e bon repos a moy aussi !’
‘Quoy ? Ne dions nous noz orisons, si come nous sumez
acoustumee ?’
‘Il ne me souvenoit point.’[185]

89After this, they go to their room upstairs. And when they get there, one asks the other:

90‘Where is Briket, the little dog, and Florette the little bitch?’

  • 30 Lit. ‘under the oak-trees lying in the garden’ (unless ‘chesnes’ is another form of ‘chiens’). In t (...)

91‘I don’t know where Briket has got to, but anyway Florette has gone to sleep downstairs under the oak-trees in the garden.’30

92‘William, get your trousers off quickly and wash your legs! Then you must wipe them with a bit of cloth and rub them well for the sake of the fleas. You don’t want them jumping on your legs — there are loads of them in the dust under those rushes.’

93Then he gets into bed. Now he says to the other:

94‘Push over, can’t you? You are so cold I can’t bear you to touch me at all! And let’s go to sleep, for God’s sake; I really need to, since I’ve been awake for the last two nights without sleeping.’

95‘What the Devil? You’re quite warm enough, you’re sweating so much!’

96‘Ah, those fleas are biting hard, and causing me such pain and discomfort! I’ve scratched my back so much it’s bleeding. It’s making me get really scabby, and my whole body is itching like fury. So tomorrow I’m getting myself a steam-bath without any further delay, I need it so much.’

97‘Oh, but William, you’ve got such a soft body! God, I wish I were as soft and clean as you are!’

98‘No, no, Perot, please don’t touch me! I’m so ticklish!’

  • 31 Kristol’s version adds ‘doncques’ to this line (p. 88).

99‘Ha ha! I’ll tickle you, then!’31

100‘Now for goodness sake, chum, cut it out. It’s high time we went to sleep.’

  • 32 Fukui notes ‘c’en fait mon’ (p. 157) with a question mark, but see Kristol’s glossary.

101‘All right then, for the love of Our Lady, certainly by all means.’32

102‘Now then, let’s stop talking and sleep tight. Blow out the candle.’

  • 33 Or: God give you good night and sweet repose, and me too (Kristol p. 88).

103‘William, God give you a good night; and let me sleep well too!’33

104‘What? Aren’t we going to say our prayers, as usual?’

105‘Oh, I forgot.’

  • 34 The second dialogue ends here.

‘Ore, nous dirons De Profundis en louent de Dieu et de
Nostre Dame, la benoite Vierge Marie, sa tresdoulce Mere, et
de tous les sains de paradis, et pour les ames de trespassez
que, la mercy de Dieu, attendant ou paines de purgatoire
qu’ils pourront le plus tost estre relesseez de leur paines a [190]
cause de noz prieres, et venir a la joy par[315d] durable, laquelle
joye Dieu, qui maint en Trinitee sanz fin en cel eire delectable
et nous rechata de son precieux sanc, de sa grande misericorde
et pitié nous ottroit en la fin, s’il lui plaist! Amen.’34

The Author’s Letter

Mon tres cher et tres honuré seignur, ore, Dieu en soit [195]
regraciez, j’ay achevee cest traitis al reverence et instance
de vous. Et a mon esciens, je l’ay traitee e compilee si come
j’ay entendu et apris es parties dela la mer. Et se j’ay parlé
en mainte lieu oscurement et nient escienteusement fait cest
busoigne, je vous en supplie de vostre gentilesse, et tous[200]
ceux qui cest livre en remirent, de m’avoir escusee, car, combien
que je ne sui pas le plus escienteux a parler et escripre doulz
franceis ou romance, neantmeins je l’ay fait selon ce que Dieux
m’a livree grace, raison, sens et entendement. Et vraiement, mon
tres doulz sire, s’il soit bien a point a vostre plaisance, [205]
j’en ay tres grand joye et leesce ou cuer, entendans, s’il vous
plaist, treshonuré seignur et mon tres doulz amy, que je sui
et tousjours serai a vostre gentil comandement de faire voz
plaisirs en tous bons poins et honestes, sanz enfreindre heure.
Et Dieux me donne grace, s’il luy plaist, que je vous pourrai [210]
rendre, ou temps a venir, du bien et de l’onneur pour les
grans biens, naturesses et courtoisies que vous m’avez fait et
mustree sans le mien desiert, [316a] et encore, s’il Dieu plaist, come
j’ay esperance de vous. Et je pri a nostre doulz Seignur Jhesu
Crist q’il vous donne bonne vie et longe, et vous en donne [215]
santee et paix as toutzjours mais. Escript etc.

  • 35 This, Ps. 130 (129 in LV), is one of the Penitential Psalms (see, for example, Cher Alme, p. 237). (...)
  • 36 Souls in Purgatory may eventually be released, especially if the living pray for them; souls in Hel (...)
  • 37 Kristol, p. 88: ‘en gloire delectable’ (in delightful glory).

106‘Now, let’s say a De Profundis,35 in praise of God and the blessed Virgin Mary his sweet Mother, and all the saints in Paradise. And for the souls of the departed who are waiting for God’s mercy among the pains of Purgatory, so they can be more speedily released from their pains thanks to our prayers, and come to everlasting joy.36 This is the joy of God, who is in Trinity without end in that delightful place,37 and who bought us with his precious blood, may he in his great mercy and pity grant us at the end, if it pleases him! Amen.’

The Author’s Letter

  • 38 ‘Dear Sir’ looks like a business letter. Although this is a ‘business letter’ I prefer to avoid the (...)
  • 39 The writer does not suggest s/he is copying or translating, but that the book is compiled from expe (...)
  • 40 See notes elsewhere, for ‘romance’ meaning ‘French’; and Kristol’s note on p. 89 The writer’s modes (...)
  • 41 Kristol reads ‘en faindre…’, meaning ‘sans faillir un instant’ (p. 89).
  • 42 Cf. Kristol: ‘et encore ferez… comme j’ay esperance de vous’. The writer hopes for future kindness (...)

107My dear and honoured lord,38 now (God be thanked!) I have finished this treatise, out of respect for you and at your instigation. To the best of my knowledge, I have drawn it up and compiled it according to what I have heard and understood in lands beyond the sea.39 If there are numerous places where I have expressed something obscurely, or performed this task unskilfully, I pray you in your kindness — and all those who look into my book — to hold me excused. For, even if I am not the most skilful speaker and writer of sweet French or Romance,40 nevertheless I have done as well as God has granted me grace, reason, sense, and understanding to do. Indeed, my very dear lord, if it pleases you at all I am overjoyed and glad at heart. Please understand, my honoured lord and very dear friend, that I am and always shall be at your kindly command, to do your pleasure in any good and honest business, without a moment’s delay.41 And may God give me grace, if it pleases him, that I shall be able to recompense you well and honourably in times to come for the great goodness, kindness, and courtesy you have shown me in spite of my undeserving; also, please God, as I have hopes of you.42 And I pray the Lord Jesus Christ to grant you a long and happy life, giving you health and peace for ever. Written…. etc.

Notes

1 Dean 281; it was revised between 1396 and 1415, for the instruction of a well-born youth. ‘The All Souls Continuation of La Maniere de Langage’, in the ANTS Essays (OPS 2), is the version presented here; see Manières, ed. Kristol (searchable page-by-page online), for the alternative versions.

2 ‘France 1913’ (in Kipling, The Years Between, pp. 15–16).

3 Although French was being taught as an unfamiliar language by this date, Trevisa describes English as having to be taught in schools during the 1360s; see his addition to Higden’s Chronicle (The Universal Chronicle of Ranulf Higden, Taylor, pp. 168–9 in Appendix II, p. 138, and passim).

4 In Oxford, All Souls College, 182.

5 See Kristol’s Introduction.

6 For Orleans and its tourist attractions, see Introduction to The Mirror of Justices, ed. Whittaker, whose author ‘could never have been through proper law-school’ (p. xxxiv). There is an excursus on Sorcery, on its pp. 15–16

7 New research on the Manieres is currently in train, towards a workshop in Oxford to be held in November 2017 (convened by Huw Grange and funded by the Leverhulme Trust); unfortunately, any proceedings will appear too late for inclusion in this book.

8 Compare Kristol’s pp. 32–4.

9 His note on p. 88 is one in which he corrects Fukui’s faulty reading.

10 Compare Kristol’s p. 45, which is headed ‘The Author’s letter to his Patron’.

11 It is probable the author is male, because so many of the texts whose authors we know are written by men. But there is always the possibility that women may be among anonymous writers, and therefore I have tried to keep the habit of leaving their gender open. Neither Fukui nor Kristol pronounces on the subject; it is not known who wrote the Maniere, nor who the patron was.

12 ‘travailler’ means ‘travel’, not ‘work’ as in modern French (see p. 157 of the edition). Another common word for ‘travel’ is ‘errer’.

13 It is possible that the same person continues the speech, asking a question in his turn, after the line-break.

14 Lit: ‘God help me’, but (given what follows) the modern expression will not do here.

15 One might speculate whether the other really speaks ‘better’ French than this one does.

16 ‘gentils’ ought to mean ‘gentlefolk’, sc. upper class. It is a fair generalization to say that better-off people learned more French than the poorer classes did.

17 ‘Saving your grace’ (note the English spelling) sounds too archaic.

18 The Englishman speaks, thanking the Frenchman for his compliments. Therefore the next speech ought to be the same person welcoming the latter to England (the punctuation appears to show a change of speaker).

19 ‘God help me’, see note above.

20 Cf. Kristol, p. 34, ‘une teste d’aresme’, that is, the Brazen Head of legend (discussed in The Brewer Dictionary of Phrase and Fable). The head is not necessarily Roger Bacon’s, the best known. Brewer’s ‘Speaking heads’ mentions other forms of the legend (its invention was ascribed to Grosseteste even before Bacon; see Southern, Robert Grosseteste, p. 75). The Cambridge version does not mention the mysterious Colin T. and the miscreant Spanish (below), mentioned in Kristol’s notes (his p. 87). Fukui, who had presumably not seen the Cambridge version, reads ‘teste’ to mean ‘text’ (p. 157). A ‘head of brasse’ in the romance Valentine and Orson (ed. Dickson) is crucial to the plot throughout. See, further, Tyson, ‘Two Prophecies and a Talking Head’.

21 Confusion between ‘nigromancy’ (from the word for black) and ‘necromancy’ (magic performed with the help of the dead) is common. OED, ‘necromancy’.

22 This must mean the speaker is offering to pay (see ‘despenses’, below), unless it is simply a polite tussle to yield precedence.

23 Lit. ‘see’.

24 ‘recomande’; there are several possible meanings, but in this context one speaker commends the other to God’s protection (rather than recommending himself).

25 ‘va traire’ is the ‘familiar’ form, unlike the rest of this passage. There is a passage in second person singular below, before the speakers return to the ‘polite’ form.

26 In Kristol’s version, all three of these speeches are by the same person (sc. ‘Perot’, who has been bullying William).

27 Kristol has ‘premerement’, thus meaning ‘before you go’.

28 The section ends here in Kristol’s version, but on his p. 36 is a passage corresponding to, but shorter than, this pleasant bedtime chat. The All Souls version continues as follows.

29 The edition is incorrectly lineated, probably because of a page-turn (there is no line 179).

30 Lit. ‘under the oak-trees lying in the garden’ (unless ‘chesnes’ is another form of ‘chiens’). In the other version, she sleeps ‘ov les autres chiens qui gisont…’.

31 Kristol’s version adds ‘doncques’ to this line (p. 88).

32 Fukui notes ‘c’en fait mon’ (p. 157) with a question mark, but see Kristol’s glossary.

33 Or: God give you good night and sweet repose, and me too (Kristol p. 88).

34 The second dialogue ends here.

35 This, Ps. 130 (129 in LV), is one of the Penitential Psalms (see, for example, Cher Alme, p. 237). Note (see Fukui, p. 157) that ‘louent’ is not a verb: it means ‘praise’ (the Cambridge version reads ‘en l’onoure de Dieux…).

36 Souls in Purgatory may eventually be released, especially if the living pray for them; souls in Hell are lost for ever.

37 Kristol, p. 88: ‘en gloire delectable’ (in delightful glory).

38 ‘Dear Sir’ looks like a business letter. Although this is a ‘business letter’ I prefer to avoid the modern-sounding phrase.

39 The writer does not suggest s/he is copying or translating, but that the book is compiled from experience and hearsay; this may or may not be true.

40 See notes elsewhere, for ‘romance’ meaning ‘French’; and Kristol’s note on p. 89 The writer’s modesty is probably no more than conventional.

41 Kristol reads ‘en faindre…’, meaning ‘sans faillir un instant’ (p. 89).

42 Cf. Kristol: ‘et encore ferez… comme j’ay esperance de vous’. The writer hopes for future kindness from the patron.

Acheter

Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search