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C'EST D'AUCASIN ET DE NICOLETE

A MEDIEVAL CHANT-FABLE

Queen Hester, Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, fol. 18v


HIS text is found in only one manuscript, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, français 2168, at folios 70 recto to 80 verso in two columns of 37 lines, beginning at the second column. It gives both words and music, but no illumination.

Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, français 2168,  fol. 70

Its dialect is Picard, its setting in Provence and in Tunisia. Charles of Anjou, St Louis' money-grubbing, war-mongering brother, became Count of Provence and then King of Sicily, seeking even to crusade to become the Emperor of Constantinople, bleeding Sicily white with taxes, until all Europe united against him, causing the Sicilian Vespers and his containment. Amongst his circle were such literary figures as Adam de la Halle and Brunetto Latino. Their style, in opposition to that of St Louis's circle, was bourgeois rather than courtly, cosmopolitan rather than monocultural, comic rather than pious. The manuscript is thirteenth century.

It mocks at the seriousness and hypocrisy of the Arthurian romance, blending together, in the same way as will Cervantes later in his Don Quixote, the pastoral and the epic. William Empson and Mikhail Bakhtin could have used it as an example in their studies of the Pastoral and of the 'Two Worlds'. Other works in this mocking genre include Apuleius' Golden Ass, Alexander Pope's Rape of the Lock and Alexander Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. Its hero is an anti-hero, almost a Hamlet, that self-mockery of the sonnet form, of the helpless lover, though here with a lady 'kind and fair', portrayed in an argument of 'Make love, not war'. It plays games with reversals of conventions, the adynata, including those of gender, turning these inside out, the woman being the capable partner, the man afraid to fight, the woman being Saracen by birth, the man having the Saracen name, both being improbably blond, the king lying in childbirth while the queen fights his war - with apples and cheeses, such as are typically reflected in the drolleries of manuscript marginalia and in monastic misericordias. Though medieval, it is cognisant of Alexandrian pastoral romances that preceded it (reflected in both saints' legends and in romances in the Middle Ages), while foreshadowing those in Ariosto and Tasso. It is clearly meant to be presented in lively performance, with alternating melodic song and narration, interspersed also with dramatic dialogue, these last reminding one of Terence's Comedies and their dialogues between fathers and their love-lorn sons, this being a performance text. The alternation of poetry and prose, known as 'Maenippian satire', had already been consummately effected in Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, again a work playing with gender role reversals, and would be reflected in the similar Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Indeed the form of Aucassin and Nicolete has a similar 'bob-and-wheel' as does Sir Gawain.This chant-fable ends with a happy marriage, unlike the broken discord of Camelot between Arthur and Guinevere, or the premonition of Boethius' brutal execution, though Charles of Anjou carried out similar brutal punishments on his subjects in his dungeons, cutting out their right eye, cutting off their right hand and foot. Indeed the author of the piece gives himself out as similarly imprisoned, a captive, as was Boethius and as are, self-referentially, his hero and heroine at various points in the poem, and he makes use, though with genders reversed and heterosexualized, of the story of imprisoned King Richard I and his minstrel Blondel's quest for him through song, where Nicolete quests Aucassin.

The manuscript is not illuminated. Instead, manuscript illuminations are given here from a contemporary Picardian manuscript, Li Livres dou Tresor, written by Brunetto Latino, Dante Alighieri's teacher, first for King Charles of Anjou (though later versions he wrote against his cruel, war-mongering patron). This particular manuscript, one out of many, is now in St Petersburg National Library in Russia. These reproductions are made from the fine manuscript facsimile of it published by M. Moleiro of Spain (http://www.beato-de-liebana.com). A similar manuscript from the same workshop is in the Laurentian Library in Florence.

It is hoped that this web essay will be of use to manuscript scholars and to undergraduate students, the latter of whom could even perform the text. When doing so you will find that with feminine rhymes, like 'Biaucaire, repaire', where in sung and in medieval French the final e is pronounced, the musical notation adds one extra note to those transcribed below.
 
 


Female and male centaurs jousting, Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, fol. 77


THE SONG-STORY OF 
AUCASSIN AND NICOLETE 

I. 'Tis of Aucassin and Nicolete. 
WHO would hear good verse 
      Of an old captive's tale,
Of two fair children,
Nicolete and Aucassin
What great sorrows suffered he,
And what deeds did valiantly
For his love, so bright of hue?
Sweet the song, fair the telling,
And courteous and well bred
So astonished man is none,
Nor so doleful nor undone,
None that doth so sorely all,
If he hear, shall not be healed,
And made glad again with joy,


      So sweet it is. 

C'EST D'AUCASIN ET DE NICOLETE

[Folio 70, Column B, I] 
Q UI vauroit bons vers oïr

     Del deport du viel antif
D e deus biax enfans petis
N icholete et aucassins
D es grans paines quil soufri
E t des proueves qu'il fist
P or s'amie o le cler vis
D ox est li cans biax li dis
E t cortois et bien asis
N us hom n'est si esbahis
T ant dolans ni entrepris
D e grant mal amaladis
S e il l'oit ne soit garis
E t de joie resbaudis 

     T  ant par est douce


Knights at Charlemagne's Coronation as Emperor by Pope, Brunetto
Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, fol. 24


II. Now they speak and they relate and they tell.

HOW the Count Bougars of Valence made war on Count Garin of Beaucaire, so great and so wonderful and so deadly, that not a single day dawned, but he was at the gates and the walls and the barriers of the town, with a hundred knights, and with ten thousand soldiers on foot and on horseback; and he burned his land, and laid waste to his country, and killed his men. Count Garin of Beaucaire was old and feeble, and had out-lived his time. He had no heir, neither son nor daughter, save only one boy. The latter was such as I shall tell you. Aucassin was the young lord's name. He was fair and slim, tall and well fashioned in legs and feet and body and arms. His hair was golden and in little curls; and his eyes were blue-grey and laughing; and his face was bright and oval; and his nose high and well-set; and so compact was he of good qualities, that there was none bad in him, but good only. But he was so overcome by Love, who conquers all, that he would not be a knight, nor take arms, nor go to the tourney, nor do anything of all that he ought to have done. His father and his mother said to him: `Son, now take your arms, and mount your horse, and fight for your land, and help your people! If they see you among them, they will fight better for their lives and their goods, and for your land and ours!' `Father,' said Aucassin, `what do you speak of now? God will never give me ought I ask of Him, if I will be a knight, or mount horse, or go to war or to battle, where I may strike a knight or be struck, unless you give me Nicolete, my sweet friend, whom I love so much!' `Son', said the father, `that could not be! Let Nicolete alone! For she is a captive maid, who was brought from a foreign land; and the Viscount of this town bought her from Saracens, and brought her to this town, and has reared her and baptized her, and made her his god-daughter; and one of these days he will give her for husband a young bachelor, who will earn bread for her honourably. Have nothing to do with this, and you will have a wife, I will give you the daughter of a King or a Count. There is not so rich a man in France, but if you will, you can have his daughter'. `Alas, father,' said Aucassin, `where is there on earth such great honour, but if Nicolete, my most sweet friend, had it she would become it? Were she Empress of Constantinople or of Germany, or Queen of France or of England, it would be little enough for her, so noble is she and gracious and debonair and compact of all good qualities'.

[II]O  r dient et content et fablent

O QUE li quens bougars de valence faisoit guere au conte garin de biaucaire si grande et si mervelleuse et si mortel qu'il ne fust uns seux jors ajornés qu'il ne fust as portes et as murs et as bares de le vile a cent cev[fol.70v,col.A]aliers et a dis mille sergens a pié et a ceval, si li argoit sa terre et gastoit son païs et ocioit ses homes. Li quens garins de biaucaire estoit vix et frales, si avoit son tans trespassé. Il n'avoit nul oir, ne fil ne fille, fors un seul vallet: cil estoit tex con je vos dirai. aucasins avoit a non li damoisiax. Biax estoit et gens et grans et bien tailliés de ganbes et de piés et de cors et de bras; il avoit les caviax blons et menus recercelés et les ex vairs et rians et le face clere et traitice et le nes haut et bien assis. Et si estoit enteciés de bones teces qu'en lui n'en avoit nule mauvaise se bone non; mais si estoit soupris d'Amor, qui tout vaint, q'il ne voloit estre cevalers, ne les armes prendre, n'aler au tornoi, ne fare point de quanque il deust. Ses pere et se mere li disoient: Fix, car pren tes armes, si monte el ceval, si deffent te terre at aie tes homes: s'il te voient entr'ex, si defenderont il mix lors cors et lor avoirs et te tere et le miue.  Pere, fait aucassins, qu'en parlés vos ore? Ja Dix ne me doinst riens que je li demant, quant ere cevaliers, ne monte a ceval, ne que voise a estor ne a bataille, la u je fiere cevalier ni autres mi, se vos ne me donés nicholete me douce amie que je tant aim.   -Fix, fait li peres, ce [70v.B] ne poroit estre. nicolete laise ester, que se est une caitive qui fu amenee d'estrange terre, si l'acata li visquens de ceste vile as Sarasins, si l'amena en ceste vile, si l'a levee et bautisie et faite sa fillole, si li donra un de ces jors un baceler qui du pain li gaaignera par honor: de ce n'as tu que faire. Et se tu fenme vix avoir, je te donrai le file a un roi u a un conte: il n'a si rice home en France, se tu vix sa fille avoir, que tu ne l'aies. -Avoi! peres, fait aucassins, ou est ore si haute honers en terre, se nicolete me tresdouce amie l'avoit, qu'ele ne fust bien enploiie en li? S'ele estoit enpereris de Colstentinoble u d'Alemaigne, u roigne de France u d'Engleterre, si aroit il assés peu en li, tant est france et cortoise et de bon aire et entecie de toutes bones teces.
 

v

Knight jousting with snail, Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, fol. 30v


III. Now it is sung.
AUCASSIN was of Biaucaire 

         And abode in castle fair.
None can move him to forget
Dainty-fashioned Nicolete,
Whom his sire to him denies;
And his mother sternly cries:
`Out on you! what will you, fool!
Nicolete is blithe and fair
Castaway from Carthage she!
Bought of paynim company!
If with a woman you will mate
Take a wife of great estate!'
`Mother, I cannot do else!
Nicolete is debonair;
Her lithe form, her face, her fairness,
Do the heart of me enkindle,
Fairly mine her love may be,


         So sweet is she." 

[III] Or se cante. 
A UCASSIN fu de biaucaire 

           D'un castel del bel repaire
D e nicole le bien faite
N uis hom ne l'en puet retraire
Q ue ses peres ne l'i laisse
E t sa mere le manace
D i va! faus, que vex tu faire?
N icolete est cointe et gaie
J etee fu de Cartage
A catee fu d'un Saisne
P uis qa'a moullié te vix traire [71.A]
P ren femme de haut parage
M ere, je n'en puis el faire
N icolete est de boin aire
S es gens cors et son viaire
S a biautés le cuer m'esclaire
B ien est drois que s'amor aie 

 Que trop est douce

                                      St Mary, Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor,  St Petersburg Manuscript, fol. 20.
 
IV. Now speak they and relate and tell.

WHEN the Count Garin of Beaucaire saw that he should not be able to turn Aucassin his son from his love for Nicolete, he went his way to the Viscount of the town, who was his vassal, and addressed him: `Sir Viscount! Now get rid of Nicolete your god-daughter! Accursed be the land from which she was brought to this country! For through her I lose Aucassin; since he will not be a knight, nor do anything of all that he ought to do. And know well that if I can get hold of her I will burn her in a fire; and you too may have the utmost fear for yourself!' `Sir,' said the Viscount, `It grieves me that he goes to her, or that he comes to her, or that he speaks to her. I had bought her with my money, and had reared her, and baptized her, and made her my god-daughter, and I would have given her a young bachelor, who would have earned bread for her honourably. With this would Aucassin your son have nothing to do. But since it is your will and your good pleasure, I will send her to such a land and to such a country that he shall nevermore see her with his eyes.' `Now have a care to yourself!' said Count Garin', `Great trouble might come of it to you'. They parted. And the Viscount was a very rich man, and had a rich palace overlooking a garden. In a chamber of this he had Nicolete placed, on an upper story, and an old woman to keep her company and society; and he had bread put there, and flesh, and wine, and whatever they had need of. Then he had the door sealed up, so that there was no way to go in there, nor to go out, except that there was a window overlooking the garden, small enough, through which there came to them a little fresh air.


[IV] Or dient et content et flablent.

QUANT li guens garins de biaucaire vit qu'il ne poroit aucassin son fil retraire des amors nicolete, it trait au visconte de le vle qui ses hon estoit, si l'apela: Sire quens, car ostés nicolete vostre filole! Que la tere soit maleoite dont ele fu amenee en cest païs! C'or par li pert jou aucassin, qu'il ne veut estre cevaliers, ne faire point de quanque faire doie; et saciés bien que, se je le puis avoir, que je l'arderai en un fu, et vous meismes porés avoir de vos tote peor.  - Sire, fait li visquens, ce poise moi qu'il va ne qu'il i vient ne qu'il i parole. Je l'avoie acatee de mes deniers, si l'avoie levee et bautisie et faite ma filole, si li donasse un baceler qui du pain li gaegnast par honor: de ce n'eust aucassins vos fix que faire. Mais puis que vostre volentés est et vos bons, je l'envoierai en tel tere et en tel païs que ja mais ne le verra de ses ex.  - Ce gardés vous! fait li quens Garins: grans maus vos en porroit venir. [71.B] Il se departent. Et li visquens estoit molt rices hom, si avoit un rice palais par devers un gardin. En une canbre la fist metre nicolete en un haut estage et une vielle aveuc li por conpagnie et por soisté tenir, et s'i fist metre pain et car et vin et quanque mestiers lor fu; puis si fist l'uis seeler c'on n'i peust de nule part entrer ne iscir, fors tant qu'il i avoit une fenestre par devers le gardin assés petite dont il lor venoit un peu d'essor.
 

 


Coronation of the Queen of the Amazons, Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, fol. 13v.
v

V. Now it is sung. 
NICOLETE is now a prisoner

     In a vaulted chamber set,
That was wrought by cunning rare,
Painted marvellously fair.
At the marble window-bay,
There she leaned, that luckless maid.
Of pale gold was her hair,
Exquisite her eyebrows were,
Bright her face, curved delicately;
Lovelier did you never see.
O'er the woodland gazed she out,
Saw the rose bloom all about,
Heard the bird call to its mate;
Then she wept her orphan fate:
`Woe is me! poor captive maid!
Why am I in prison laid?
Aucassin, liege lording dear,
Now I am thy loving friend,
Nor by you am I abhorred:
For your sake I am in ward,
In this painted chamber held,
Where full evil days I spend.
But, O Son of Mary Virgin!,
I will not stay here long,


     If I can be free. 

Or se cante. 

N ICOLE est in prison mise
   En une canbre vautie
K i faite est par grant devisse,
P anturee a miramie.
A la fenestre marbrine
L a s'apoia la mescine:
E le avoit blonde la crigne
E t bien faite la sorcille,
L a face clere et traitice;
A inc plus bele ne veïstos.
E sgarda par le gaudine
E t vit la rose espanie
E t les oisax qui se crient,
D ont se clama orphenine:
A i mi! lasse moi, caitive!
P or coi sui en prison misse?
A ucassins, demoisiax sire,
J a sui jou li vostre amie
E t vos ne me haés mie;
P or vos sui en prison misse
E n ceste canbre vautie [71v.A]
U je trai molt male vie;
M ais, par Diu le fil Marie
L ongement n'i serai mie, 

   S    e iel puis fare.
v

                                                 Portatif Organ and Woman Tumbler, Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, fol. 19v.
 
VI. Then speak they and relate and tell. 

NICOLETE was in prison, as you have listened and herd, in the chamber. The hue and cry went through all the land and through all the country, that Nicolete was lost. Some say that she fled out of the land; and some say Count Garin of Beaucaire had her slain. Whoever may have rejoiced at it, Aucassin was not glad; but he went his way to the Viscount of the town, and said to him: `Sir Viscount, what have you done to Nicolete, my most sweet friend, the one that I loved best in all the world? Have you carried her off, or stolen her away from me? Know well that if I die of this, vengeance will be demanded of you for it, and very right will it be. Since you will have slain me with your two hands; for you have taken from the thing that I loved best in the world'. `Fair sir,' said the Viscount, `let it be! Nicolete is a captive maide, whom I brought from a foreign land, and I bought her with my coins from the Saracens. I have reared her, and baptized her and made her my god-daughter, and have cherished her, and one of these days I should have given her to a young bachelor who would earned bread for her honourably. Which this you have nothing to do; but instead take the daughter of a king or of a count. Moreover, what do you think you would gain, if you made her your paramour, and taken her to your bed? Very little would you have won, for your soul would be in Hellfire for all Eternity, since you would never enter Paradise!' `What have I to do with Paradise? I seek not to enter there, unless to be with Nicolete my most sweet friend, whom I love so much. For none go to Paradise, except only these. Those old priests go there, and old cripples, and maimed wretches, who grovel all day and all night before those altars and in those old crypts; and folk clothed in old threadbare cloacks, and old rags and tatters, who are naked and barefoot and full of sores, who die of hunger and thirst and cold and misery. They go to Paradise. With them I have nothing to do, but to Hell will I go. For to Hell go the fine clerks and the fine knights, who have died in tourneys and in great wars, and the brave soldiers and the noble men. With those I will go. And there too go the fair and gracious ladies who have two or three friends besides their lord; and there go the sgold and the silver, and the vair and the grey of fur, and there too fo harpers and minstrels and kings of the world. With those will I go, if only I have Nicolete, my most sweet friend, with me'. `Assuredly', said the Viscount, you speak to no avail, since you will never see her again. And if you should speak to her, and your father knew of it, he would burn both me and her in a fire, and you yourself might have the utmost fear'. `This troubles me!' said Aucassin. He departs from the Viscount, sad at heart.


 
 

Or dient et content et fablent.

NICOLETE fu en prison, si que vous avés oï et entendu, en le canbre. Li cris et le noise ala par tote le terre et par tot le païs que nicolete estoit perdue: li auquant dient qu'ele est fuie fors de la terre, et li auquant dient que li quens garins de biaucaire l'a faite mordrir. Qui qu'en eust joie, aucassins n'en fu mie liés, ains traist au visconte de la vile, si l'apela. Sire visquns, c'avés vos fait de nicolete ma tresdouce amie, le riens en tot le mont que je plus amoie? Avés le me vos tolue ne enblee? Saciés bien que, se je en muir, faide vous en sera demandee; et ce sera bien drois, que vos m'arés ocis a vos deus mains, car vos m'avés tolu la riens en cest mont que je plus amoie. - Biax sire, fait li quens, car laisciés ester. nicolete est une caitive que j'amenai d'estrange tere, si l'acatai de mon avoir a Sarasins, si l'ai levee et bautisie et fait ma fillole, si l'ai nourie, si li donasce un de ces jors un baceler qui del pain li gaegnast par honor: de ce n'avés vos que faire. Mais prendés le fille a un roi u un conte. [71v.B] Enseurquetot, que cuideriés vous avoir gaegnié, se vous l'aviés asognentee ne mise a vo lit? Mout i ariés peu conquis, car tos les jors du siecle en seroit vo arme en infer, qu'en paradis n'enterriés vos ja.  - En paradis qu'ai je a faire? Je n'i quier entrer, mais que j'aie nicolete ma tresdouce amie que j'aim tant; c'en paradis ne vont fors tex gens con je vous dirai. Il i vont ci viel prestre et cil viel clop et cil manke qui tote jor et tote nuit cropent devant ces autex et en sec viés creutes, et cil a ces viés capes ereses et a ces viés tatereles vestues, qui sont nu et decauc et estrumelé, qui moeurent de faim et de soi et de froit et de mesaises; icil vont en paradis: aveuc ciax n'ai jou que faire. Mais en infer voil jou aler, car en infer vont li bel clerc, et li bel cevalier qui sont mort as tornois et a rices gueres, et li buen sergant et li franc home: aveuc ciax voil jou aler; et s'i vont les beles dames cortoises que eles ont deus amis ou trois avoc leur barons, et s'i va li ors et li argens et li vairs et li gris, et si i vont herpeor et jogleor et li roi del siecle: avoc ciax voil jou aler, mais que j'aie nicolete ma tresdouce amie aveuc mi.  - Certes, fait li visquns, [72.A] por nient en parlerés, que ja mais ne le verrés; et se vos i parlés et vos peres le savoit, il arderoit et mi et li en un fu, et vos meismes porriés avoir toute paor.  - Ce poise moi, fait aucassins; se se depart del visconte dolans.
 
 
 

 

v

                               Detail, Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, fol. 13v
 
VII. Now it is sung. 
AUCASSIN has turned and passed.

          Sorrowful and sore down-cast,
All for his bright-favoured maid,
None can counsel him nor cheer.
To the palace he went home:
There the outer steps he climbs,
To a chamber enters in,
And begins to weep therein,
And ado most doleful make
And lament his fair love's sake.
`Nicolete, your pretty bearing!
Your sweet speech and pretty joying,
Pretty jesting, pretty toying,
Pretty kissing, pretty coying!
For you I am in such tene,
And so ill bested, I ween
Never hence alive to wend,


     Sweet sister friend!"

[VII] Or se cante 
AUCASSIN s'en est torné 

   M    olt dolans et abosmés:
D e s'amie o le vis cler
N us ne le puet conforter,
N e nul bon consel doner.
V ers le palais est alés;
I l en monta les degrés,
E n une canbre est entrés,
S i comença a plorer
E t grant dol a demener
E t s'amie a regreter.
N icolete, biax esters,
B iax venir et biax alers,
B iax borders et biax jouers,
B iax baisiers, biax acolers,
P or vos sui si adolés
E t si malement menés
Q ue je n'en cuit vis aler, 

 S   uer douce amie.
v
                Female and male centaurs jousting, Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, detail, fol. 77
 
VIII. Now speak they and relate and tell. 

WHILST Aucassin was in the chamber, and was bewailing Nicolete his friend, Count Bougart of Valence, who had his war to carry on, did nt gforget it, but had summoned his men on foot and on horse, and advanced to assult the castle. And the cry arose and the noise; and the knights and the soldiers arm themselves, and rush to the gate and to the walls to defend the castle; and the townsfolk go up to the alures of the walls, and throw quarrels and sharpened stakes. While the attack was great and plenary, the Count Garin of Beaucaire came into the chamger where Aucassin was making moan and bewailing Nicolete his most sweet friend, whom he loved so much. `Ah, son!' he said, `Caitif you are and miserable! For you see assault made on your castle, altogether the best and the strongest! And know that if you lose it you are disinherited! So, now take arms, and mount horse, and fight for your land, and help your men! Strike never a man nor they you, but if they see you among them, they will fight better for their goods and their lives, and your land and mine. And you are so tall and so strong, that you are well able to do it, and do it you ought.' `Father,' said Aucassin, `what do you speak of now? Never God give me anything I ask of him, if I be a knight and mount horse or go to onset, where I may strike knight or they me, unless you give me Nicolete, my sweet friend, whom I love so much.' `Son', said the father, `that cannot be! Rather I would endure to be utterly dispossessed, and to lose all that I have, than that you should ever have to woman or to wife!' He turned away. And when Aucassin saw him going away, he called him back. `Father,' said Aucassin, `come here! I will make a fair convenant with you!' `And what is that, fair son'. `I will take arms and go to the onset by such covenant, - that if God bring me back safe and sound, you will let me see Nicolete, my sweet friend, long enough to have spoken two words or three to her, and to have kissed on single time'. `I consent to it!', said the father. He grants it him, and Aucassin was glad. 


Or dient et content et fablent.

ENTREUSQUE aucassins estoit en le canbre et il regretoit nicolete s'amie, li quens bougars de val[72.B]ence, qui sa guerre avoit a furnir, ne s'oublia mie, ains ot mandé ses homes a pié et a ceval, si traist au castel por asalir. Et li cris lieve et la noise, et li cevalier et li serjant s'arment et querent as portes et as murs por le castel desfendre, et li borgois montent as aleoirs des murs, si jetent quariax et peus aguisiés. Entroeusque li asaus estoit grans et pleniers, et li quens garins de biaucaire vint en la canbre u aucassins faisoit deul et regretoit nicolete sa tresdouce amie que tant amoit. Ha! fix, fait il, con par es caitis et maleurox, que tu vois c'on asaut ton castel tot le mellor et le plus fort; et saces, se tu le pers, que tu es desiretés. Fix, car pren les armes et monte u ceval et defen te tere et aiues tes homes et va a l'estor: ja n'i fieres tu home ni autres ti, s'il te voient entr'ax, si desfonderont il mix lor avoir et lor cors et te tere et le miue; et tu ies si grans et si fors que bien le pués faire, et farre le dois.  - Pere, fait aucassins, qu'en parlés vous ore? Ja Dix ne me doinst riens que je li demant, quant ere cevaliers, ne monte el ceval, ne voise en estor, le u je fiere cevalier ne autres mi, se vos ne me [72v.A] donés nicolete me douce amie que je tant aim.  - Fix, dist le pere, ce ne puet estre: ançois sosferoie jo que je feusse tous desiretés et que je perdisse quanques g'ai que tu ja l'euses a mollier ni a espousse. Il s'en torne; et quant aucassins l'en voit aler, il le rapela: Peres, fait aucassins, venés avant: je vous ferai bons couvens.   - Et quex, biax fix?   - Je prendrai les armes, s'irai a l'estor, par tex covens que se Dix me ramaine sain et sauf, que vos me lairés nicolete me douce amie tant veir que j'aie deus paroles u trois a li parlees et que je l'aie une seule fois baisie. -Je l'otroi, fait li peres. Il le creante et aucassin fu lié.

 

v
        Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 19
 
IX. Now it is sung:
A UCASSIN heard of the kiss 

        Which shall on return be his.
Had one given him of pure gold
Marks a hundred thousand told,
Not so blithe of heart he were.
Rich array he bade them bear:
They made ready for his wear.
He put on a hauberk lined,
Helmet on his head did bind,
Girt on his sword with hilt pure gold,
Mounted on his charger bold;
Spear and buckler then he took;
At his two feet cast a look:
They trod in the stirrups trim.
Wondrous proud he carried him.
His dear love he thought upon,
And his good horse spurred anon,
Who right eagerly went on.
Through the gate he rode straightway,


      Into the fray.

[IX] Or se cante
AUCASSIN ot du baisier

                                      Qu'il ara au repairier:
P or cent mile mars d'or mier
N e le fesist on si lié.
G arnemens demanda ciers,
O n li a aparelliés:
I l vest en auberc dublier
E t laça l'iaume en son cief,
Ç ainst l'espee au poin d'or mier,
S i monta sor son destrier
E t prent l'escu et l'espiel;
R egarda andex ses piés,
B ien li sissent es estriers;
A mervelle se tint ciers.
D e s'amie il sovient,
S 'esperona le destrier; 
I l li cort molt volentiers: 
T ot droit a le porte en vient
   a la bataille.
v
                                            Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 24
 
X. Now they speak and relate and tell. 

AUCASSIN was in arms upon his horse, as you have listened and heard. Heavens! how well sat his shield on his neck, and his helmet on his head, and his sword belt on his left hip! And the boy was tall and strong and fair and slim and well-made, and the horse, on which he sat, was eager and mettlesome, and the boy had ridden him well through the gateway. Now do you not suppose that he would have thought of taking spoil of oxen or of cows or of goats, and that he would have struck knight and other him? Never a deal! Not once did he bethink him of it; but he thought so much upon Nicolete, his sweet friend, that he forgot his reins and whatever he ought to do. And the horse, who had felt the spurs, carried him on into the throng, and dashed right into the thick of his foes. And they laid hands upon him from every side, and stripped him of his shield and his lance, and led him off prisoner then and there; and were already discussing by what death they should cause him to die. And when Aucassin heard it: `Ah Heaven', he said, `gentle creature! Are these my mortal foes who are here leading me, and who will even now cut off my head? And when once I had had my head cut off, nevermore shall I speak to Nicolete, my sweet friend whom I love so much! Yet have I here a good sword, and bestride a good steed still fresh! And I now defend me not for her sake, ne'er help her Heaven, if ever again she love me!' The boy was tall and storng, and the horse on which he sat was restive. And he puts his hand to his sword, and begins to strike to right and to left, and cleaves helmets and nasals and fists and arms, and makes a havoc all round him, just as the wild board when the dogs set on him in the forest; so that he overthrew ten knights of them, and wounded seven, and dashed then and there out of the throng, and rode back again full gallop, sword in hand. Count Bougart of Valencia heard say that they were about to hang Aucassin his enemy, and he came that way; and Aucassin mistook him not. He held his sword in his hand, and struck him full on the helmet, so that he beat it in on his head. The Count was so stunned that he fell to the earth; and Aucassin put out his hand and took him, and led him away prisoner by the nasal of his helmet, and gave him up to his father. `Father', said Aucassin, `see, here is your enemy who has made such war on you, and done you such evil. Twenty years has this war now lasted; never was there any man that could put an end to it'. `Fair son,' said the father, `such exploits should you do, not gape after folly!'. `Father', said Aucassin, `do not preach at me, but keep my covenant!' `Ha! what covenant, fair son?' `Alack, father! Have you forgotten it? By my head, forget it who may, I will not forget it, but it has fast hold of me in the hurt. Did you not covenant with me, when I took my arms and went to the onset, that if God brought me back safe and sound, you would let me see Nicolete, my sweet friend, so much as to speak two words or three to her, and to kiss her once? This you had in covenant with me and this I will you keep with me!' `I?' said the father. `N'er help Heaven, if ever I keep covenant with you herin! And if she was here now, I would burn her in a fire, and you yourself might be in the utmost fear!' `Is this the whole end?' said Aucassin. `So help me Heaven,' said his father, `yes'. `Certes,' said Aucassin, `now ma I very sorry when a man of your age lies! Count of Valenica' said Aucassin' `I have made you prisoner!' `Yes, verily', said the Count. `Give me here your hand!' said Aucassin. `Sir, willingly!' He put his hand in his. `Now do you promise me', said Aucassin, `that never, on any day you may have to live, shall it be in your power to do insult to my father, or to molest him in his person or in his property, but you will do it to him?' `Sir, in Heaven's name,' said he, `mock me not, but set me a ransom! You can ask of me neither gold nor silver, nor steeds nor palfreys, that I will not give you!' `How?' said Aucassin, `know you not that I have made you prisoner?' `Sir, yes!' said Count Bougart. `Ne'er help me Heaven,' said Aucassin, `and you promise it me not, if I do not now send that head of yours flying!' `In Heaven's name,' said he, `I promise you whatever it pleases you!' He promised him; and Aucassin made him mount on a horse, and he himself mounted another, and escorted him till he was in safety.


[X] Or dient et content [72v.B]

AUCASSINS fu armés sor son ceval, si con vos avés oï et entendu. Dix! con li sist li escus au col et li hiaumes u cief et li renge de s'espee sor le senestre hance! Et li vallés fu grans et fors et biax et gens et bien fornis, et li cevaus sor quoi il sist rades et corans, et li vallés l'ot bien adrecié par mi la porte. Or ne quidiés vous qu'il pensast n'a bués n'a vaces n'a civres prendre, ne qu'il ferist cevalier ne autres lui. Nenil nient! onques ne l'en sovint; ains pensa tant a nicolete sa douce amie qu'il oublia ses resnes et quanques il dut faire; et li cevax qui ot senti les esperons l'en porta par mi le presse, se se lance tres entre mi ses anemis; et il getent les mains de toutes pars, si le prendent, si le dessaisisent de l'escu et de le lance, si l'en mannent tot estrousement pris, et aloient ja porparlant de quel mort il feroient morir. Et quant aucassins l'entendi: Ha! Dix, fait il, douce creature! sont çou mi anemi mortel qut si me mainent et qui ja me cauperont le teste? Et puis que j'arai la teste caupee, ja mais ne parlerai a nicolete me douce amie que je tant aim. Encor ai je ci une bone espee et siec sor bon destrie sejorné: se or ne me deffent por li, onques Dix ne li aït se ja mais m'aime! Li vallés fu grans et fors, et li cevax so quoi il sist fu remuans; et il mist le main a l'espee, si comence a [73.A] ferir a destre et a senestre et caupe hiaumes et caseus et puins et bras et fait un caple entor lui, autresi con li senglers quant li cien l'asalent en le forest, et qu'il lor abat did cevaliers et navre set et qu'il se jete tot estroseement de le prese et qu'il s'en revient les galopiax ariere, s'espee en sa main. Li quens bougars de valence oï dire c'on penderoit aucassin son anemi, si venoit cele part; et aucassins ne le mescoisi mie: il tint l'espee en la main, se la fiert par mi le hiaume si qu'i li enbare el cief. Il fu si estonés qu'il caï a terre; et aucassins tent le main, si le prent et l'en mainne pris par le nasel del hiame et le rent a son pere. Pere, fait aucassins, ves ci vostre anemi qui tant vous a gerroié et mal fait: vint ans ja dure ceste guerre; onques ne pot iestre acievee par home.  -Biax fix, fait le pere, tes enfance devés vos faire, nient baer a folie.  -Pere, fait aucassins, ne m'alés mie sermonant, amis tenés moi mes covens. - Ba! quex covens, biax fix? - Avoi! pere, avés les vos obliees? Par mon cief! qui que les oblit, he nes voil mie oblier, ains me tient molt au cuer. Enne m'eustes vos en covent que, quant je pris les armes et j'alai a l'estor, que, se Dix me ramenoit sain et sauf, que vos me lairiés nicolete ma douce amie tant veir que j'aroie parlé a li deus paroles [73.B] ou trois? Et que je l'aroie une fois baisie m'eustes vos en covent! Et ce voil je que vos me tenés. -Jo? fait li peres; ja Dix ne m'aït, quant ja covens vos en tenrai; et s'ele estoit ja ci, je l'arderoie en un fu, et vos meismes porriés avoir tote paor.  -Est se tote la fins? fait aucassins. -Si m'aït Dix, fait li peres, oï.  -Certes, fait aucassins, je sui molt dolans quant hom de vostre eage ment. Quens de Valence, fait aucassins, je vos ai pris.  - Sire, voire, fait li quens. - Bailés ça vostre main, fait aucassins. - Sire, volentiers. I le met se main en la siue. Ce m'afiés vos, fait aucassins, que, a nul jor que vos aiés a vivre, ne porrés men pere faire honte n destorbier de sen cors ne de sen avoir que vos ne li faciés. - Sire, por Diu, fait il, ne me gabés mie; mais metés moi a raençon; vos ne me sarés ja demander or ni argent, cevaus ne palefrois, ne vair ne gris, ciens ne oisiax, que je ne vos doinse.  -Coment? fait aucassins; ene connissiés vos que je vos ai pris?  -Sire, oie, fait li quens borgars. -Ja Dis ne m'aït, fait aucassins, se vos ne le m'afies, se je ne vous fac ja cele teste voler. -Enondu! fait il, je vous afie quanque il vous plaist. Il li afie; at aucassins le fait monter sor un ceval, et il monte sor un autre, si le
conduist tant qu'il fu a sauveté.

v
                      Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 77
 
XI. Now it is sung. 
NOW Count Garin, when he saw 

     Aucassin will ne'er withdraw
From bright-favoured Nicolete,
In a prison had him set,
In a dark cell under ground,
With grey marble walled around.
Now when Aucassin came there,
Sad he was, so was he ne'er!
Loud lamenting he fell on
Thus as you shall hear anon:
`Nicolete, O love lily!
Sweet love-friend, so bright of blee!
Sweet as cluster of the vine,
Sweet as mede in maselyn!
Saw I this some yesterday:
On a bed a pilgrim lay,
(Who of Limousin was bred,)
Sick with fever of the head.
Very sore was he in pain,
With most grievous sickness ta'en.
By his bedside thou didst fare,
And thy long train liftedst there,
And thy dainty ermine frock,
And thy snowy linen smock,
Till thy white limbs he might see.
Straight the pilgrim healed was he,
Whole as he was ne'er before.
From his bed he rose once more,
And to his own land did flit,
Safe and sound, whole every whyit.
Sweet love-friend, white lily blowing!
Fair thy coming, fair thy going,
Fair thy jesting, fair thy toying,
Fair thy speaking, fair thy joying
Sweet thy kiss and sweet thy coying!
None could hate thee, Nicolete!
'Tis for thy sake I am set
In this dark cell under ground,
Where I make most doleful sound.
Now to die behoveth me,


     Sweet friend, for thee." 

[XI] Or se cante. [73v.A]
QANT or voit il quns garins

      D   e son enfant aucassin
Q u'il ne pora departir
D e nicolete au cler vis,
E n une prison l'a mis
E n un celier sosterin
Q ui fu fas de marbre bis.
Q uant or i vint aucassins,
D olans fu, ainc ne fu si;
A dementer si se prist
S i con vos porrés oïr:
N icolete, flors de lus, 
P lus es douce que roisins
N e que soupe en maserin.
L 'autr' ier vi un pelerin, 
N es estoit de Limosin,
M alades de l'esvertin,
S i gisoit ens en un lit,
M out par estoit entrepris, 
D e grant mal amaladis;
T u passas devant son lit,
S i soulevas ton traïn
E t ton peliçon ermin,
L a cemisse de blanc lin,
T ant que ta ganbete vit:
G aris fu li pelerins
E t tos sains, ainc ne fu si;
S i se leva de son lit, 
S i rala en son païs
S ains et saus et tos garis.
D oce amie, flors de lis,
B iax alers et biax venirs, [73v.B]
B iax jouers et biax bordirs,
B iax parlers et biax delis,
D ox baisiers et dox sentirs,
N us ne vous poroit haïr.
P or vos sui en prison mis
E n ce clier sousterin
U je fac mout male fin;
O r m'i convenra morir 

  P   or vos, amie.
v
                                             Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 18v
 
XII. Now they speak and they relate and they tell. 

AUCASSIN was put in prison, as you have listened and heard, and Nicolete, on the other hand, was in the chamber. It was in the summer time, in the month of May, when the days are warm, long and bright, and the nights still and cloudless. Nicolete lay one night in her bed, and saw the moon shine through a window, and heard the nightingale sing in the garden, and then she bethought her of Aucassin her friend, whom she loved so much. She began to consider of Count Garin of Beaucaire, who hated her to death; and she thought to herself that she would remain there no longer; since if she were betrayed, and Count Garin knew it, he would make her die an evil death. She perceived that the old woman who was with her was asleep. She got up, and put on a gown which she had of cloth-of-solk and very good; and she took bed-clothes and towels, and tied one to another, and made a rope as long as she could, and tied it to the pillar of the window, and let herself down into the garden; and she took her dress in one hand before and in the other behind, and tucked it up, because of the dew which she saw thick on the grass; and she went away down the garden. Her hair was golden and in little curls, and her eyes blue-grey and laughing, and her face oval, and her nose high and well-set, and her lips vermeil, so as is no cherry nor rose in summer-time, and her teeth white and small; and her bosom was firm, and heaved her dress as if it had been two walnuts; and ateween the sides she was so slender that you could have clasped her in your two hands; and the daisy blossoms which she broke off with the toes of her feet, which lay fallen over on the bend of her foot, were right black against her feet and her legs, so very white was the maiden. She came to the postern door, and unfastened it, and went out through the streets of Beaucaire, keeping in the shadow, for the moon shone very bright; and she went on till she came to the tower where her lover was. The tower was shored up here and there, and she crouched down by one of the pillars, and wrapped herself in her mantle; and she thrust her head into a chink in the tower, which was old and ruinous, and heard Aucassin within weeping and making great ado, and lamenting for his sweet friend whom he loved so much. And when she had listened enough to him she began to speak. 


[XII] Or dient et content et fabloient.

AUCASSINS fu mis en prison, si come vos avés oï et entendu, et nicolete fu d'autre part en le canbre. Ce fu el tans d'esté, el mois de mai que li jor sont caut, lonc et cler, et les nuis coies et series. nicolete jut une nuit en son lit, si vit la lune luire cler par une fenestre et si oï le lorseilnol center en garding, se li sovint d'aucassin sen ami qu'ele tant amoit. Ele se comença a porpenser del conte garin de biaucaire qui de mort le haoit; si se pensa qu'ele ne remanroit plus ilec, que, s'ele estoit acusee et le quens Garins le savoit, il le feroit de male mort morir. Ele senti que li vielle dormoit qui aveuc li estoit; ele se leva, si vesti un bliaut de drap de soie que ele avoit molt bon, si prist dras de lit et touailes, si noua l'un a l'autre, si fist une corde si longe conme el pot, si le noua au piler de le fenestre; si s'avela contreval le gardin, et prist se vesture a l'une main devant et a l'autre deriere, si s'escorça por le rousee qu'ele vit grande sor l'erbe, si s'en ala aval le gardin. Ele [74.A] avoit les caviaus blons et menus recercelés, et les ex vairs et rians, et le face traitice, et le nes haut et bien assis, et lé levretes vremelletes plus que ne's cerisse ne rose el tans d'esté, et les dens blans et menus; et avoit les mameletes dures qui li souslevoient sa vesteure ausi con se fuissent deus nois gauges; et estoit grailled par mi les flans qu'en vos dex mains le peusciés enclorre; et les flors de margerites qu'ele ronpoit as ortex de ses piés, qui li gissoient sor. le menuisse du pié par deseure, estoient droites noires avers ses piés et ses ganbes, tant par estoit blance la mescinete. Elle vint au postic, si le deffrema, si s'en isci par mi les rues de biaucaire par devers l'onbre, car la lune luisoit molt clere, et erra tant qu'ele vint a le tor u ses amis estoit. Li tors estoit faelee de lius en lius; et ele se quatist delés l'un des pilers, si s'estraint en son mantel, si mist sen cief par mi une creveure de la tor qui vielle estoit et anciienne, so oï aucassin qui la dedens plouroit et faisoit mot grant dol et regretoit se douce amie que tant amoit. Et quant et l'ot assés escouté, si comença a dire.

 

v

                                       Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 13v
 
XIII. Now it is sung: 
NICOLETE the bright of brow 

          On a pillar leanest thou, 
All Aucassin's wail dost hear 
For his love that is so dear, 
Then thou spakest, shrill and clear, 
"Gentle knight withouten fear 
Little good befalleth thee, 
Little help of sigh or tear, 
Ne'er shalt thou have joy of me. 
Never shalt thou win me; still 
Am I held in evil will 
Of thy father and thy kin, 
Therefore must I cross the sea, 
And another land must win." 
Then she cut her curls of gold, 
Cast them in the dungeon hold, 
Aucassin doth clasp them there, 
Kissed the curls that were so fair, 
Them doth in his bosom bear, 
Then he wept, even as of old, 


     All for his love! 

[XIII] Or se cante. 
N ICOLETE o le vis cler

   S'   apoia a un piler, [74.B] 
S 'oï aucassin plourer
E t s'amie regreter;
O r parla, dist son penser:
A cassins, gentix et ber,
F rans damoisiax honorés,
Q ue vos vaut li dementer,
L i plaindres ne li plurers,
Q uant ja de moi ne gorés?
C ar vostre peres me het
E t trestos vos parentés.
P or vous passerai le mer,
S 'irai en autre regné.
D e ses caviax a caupés,
L a dedans les a rüés.
A ucassins les prist, li ber,
S i les a molt honerés
E t baisiés et acolés;
E n sen sain les a boutés;
S i recomence a plorer,

 T    out por s'amie.
v
                      Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 77
 
XIV. Now they speak and they relate and they tell. 

WHEN Aucassin heard Nicolete say that she would go away into another land, there was no room in him but for anger. `Fair sweet friend,' said he, `you shall not go away, for then would you have slain me. And the first that should see you or that should be able, would lay hands on you straightway, and take you to his bed, and make you his paramour. And when once you should have lain in other man's bed than mine, now think not that I should wait till I found a knifte, wherewith I might strike me to the heart and kill me! Nay, verily, so long would I not wait; but I would fling me so far as I might see a wall or a grey stone, and would dash my head against it so hard that I should make my eyes start out, and beat out my brains altogether. Yet would I rather die such a death as that, than know that you had lain in other man's bed than mine'. `Alas!' said she, `I do not believe that you love me so much as you say; but I love you more than you do me!' `Alack!' said Aucassin, `fair sweet friend! It could not be that you should love me so much as I do you! Woman cannot love man so much as man loves woman. For the love of woman is in her eye, and in the tip of the nipple of her breast, and in the tip of the toe of her foot; but the love man is planted within in the heart, whence it cannot go out'. While Aucassin and Nicolete were talking together, the watchmen of the town came all along a street, and they had their swords drawn under their cloaks. For Count Garin had commanded them, that if they could take her they should kill her. And the warder who was on the tower saw them coming, and heard that they were talking of Nicolete, and that they threatened to kill her. `Heavens!', said he, `How great were the loss of so fair a maiden, should they kill her! And it would be a very great kindness if I could tell her, so that they should not perceive it, and that she might save herself from them. For if they kill her, then will Aucassin my young lord die, whose will be a great loss'. 

[XIV] Or dient et content et fabloient.

QANT aucassins oï dire nicolete qu'ele s'en voloit aler en autre païs, en lui n'ot que courecier. Bele douce amie, fait il, vos n'en irés mie, car dont
m'ariis vos mort; et li prenderoit lués et vos meteroit a son lit, si vos asoignenteroit. Et puis que vos ariiés jut en lit a home, s'el mien non, or ne quidiés mie que j'atendisse tant que je trovasse coutel dont je me peusce ferir el cuer et ocirre. Naie voir, tant n'atenderoie je mie; ains m'esquelceroie de si lonc que je verroie une maisiere [74.A] u une bisse pierre, s'i hurteroie si durement me teste que j'en feroie les ex voler et que je m'escerveleroi tos: encor ameroire je mix a morir de si faite mort que je seusce que vos eusciés jut en lit a home, s'el mie non.  - A! fait ele, je ne quit mie que vous m'amés tant con vos dites; mais je vos aim plus que vos ne faciés mi.  - A voi! fait aucassins, bele douce amie, ce ne porrait estre que vos m'amissiés tant que je fac vos. Fenme ne peut tant amer l'oume con li hom fait le fenme; car li amors de le femme est en son oeul et en son le cateron de sa mamele et en son l'orteil del pié; mais li amors de l'oume est ens el cué plantee, donte ele ne puet iscir. La u aucassins et nicolete parloient ensanble, et les escargaites de le vile venoient tote une rue; s'avoient les espees traites desos les capes, car li quens Garins lor avoit commandé que, se il le pooient prendre, qu'i l'ocesissent. Et li gaite qui estoit sor le tor les vit venir, et oï qu'il aloient de nicolete parlant et qu'il le maneçoient a occirre. Dix! fait il, con grans damages de si bele mescinete, s'il l'ocient! Et molt seroit grans aumosne, se je li pooie dire, par quoi il ne s'aperceuscent, et qu'ele s'en gardast; car s'i l'ocient, dont iert aucassins mes damoisiax mors, dont grans damages ert.

v
                                            Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 24
 
XV. Now it is sung. 
BRAVE the warder was indeed, 

       Gallant, gentle, good of rede.
He began to sing straightway
A right good and pleasant lay.
`Maiden of the noble heart,
Winsome fair of form you are,
Golden tresses winsome fair,
Laughing face and eyes of vair.
By thy looks I see full plain
With thy love thou'st spoke again,
Who for thee is in death's way.
Now thou hearest that I saw:
Of yon treacherous men beware,
Who on all sides hunt thee there!
'Neath their cloaks their drawn swords be;
Loudly do they threaten thee;
Soon will they some mischief do thee, 


     Save thou look to thee!" 

[XV] Or se cante
LI gaite fu mout vaillans, [74.B]

   Preus et cortois et saçans;
I l a commencié un cant
K i biax fu et avenans.
M escinete o le cuer franc,
C ors as gent et avenant.
L e poil blont et reluisant,
V airs les ex, ciere riant;
B ien le voi a ton sanblant,
P arlé as a ton amant
Q ui por toit se va morant.
J el te di et tu l'entens:
G arde toi des souduians 
K i par ci te vont querant,
S ous les capes le nus brans;
F orment te vont maneçant,
T ost te feront messeant,

  S'  or ne t'i gardes.
v
                                               Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail. fol. 18v
 
XVI. Now they speak and they relate and they tell.

"AH!, said Nicolete, `may the soul of your father and of your mother be in blessed repose, for that so fairly and so courteously you have now told me of it! An't please God I will take good care of myself, and may God take care of me!' She wrapped herself in her mantle in the shadow of the pillar, till they were passed on beyond; and she took leave of Aucassin, and went her way till she came to the outer wall of the castle. The wall was broken down and had been repaired, and she climbed up upon it, and made her way till she was between the wall and the moat, and she looked down and saw that the moat was very deep and very steep, and she was very much afraid. `Oh Heaven, !' she said, `gentle creature!' If I let myself fall, I shall break my neck; and if I stay here, they will take me to-morrow, and they will burn me in a fire. Yet would I rather die here, than that all the folk should stare at me tomorrow wondering!' She crossed herself, and let herself slip down the moat; and when she came to the bottom, her beautiful feet and her beautiful hands, which had never learned that they might be hurt, were bruised and torn, and the blood flowed from them in full twelve places; and nevertheless she felt neither hurt nor pain for the great fear she was in. And if she had trouble in getting in, she had far greater in getting out. She bethought her that it did no good to linger there; and she found a pointed stake, which those within had thrown to defend the castle; and she made steps one above the other, and so climbed up with great difficulty till she came to the top. Now the forest was hard by, within two bowshots, which stretched full thirty leagues in length and in breadth; and in it there were wild beasts and serpents. She was afraid that if she went into it these things would kill her; and then again she bethought her, that if she was found in that place she would be taken back to the town to be burned.

[XVI] Or dient et content et fabloient.

HÉ! fait nicolete, l'ame de ten pere et de te mere soit en benooit repos, quant si belement et si cortoisement le m'as ore dit. Se Diu plaist, je m'en garderai bien, et Dix m'en gart! Ele s'estraint en son mantel en l'onbre del piler, tant que cil furent passé outre; et ele prent congié a aucassin, si s'en va tant qu'ele vint au mur del castel. Li murs fu depeciés, s'estoit rehordés, et ele monta deseure, si fist tant qu'ele fu entre le mur et le fossé; et ele garda contreval, si vit le fossé molt parfont et molt roide, s'o molt grant paor. He! Dix, fait ele, douce creature! se je me lais caïr, je briserai le col, et se je remain ci, on me prendera demain, si m'ardera on en un fu. Encor ainme je mix que je muire [75.A] ci que tos li pules me regardast demain a merveilles. Ele segna son cief, si se laissa glacier aval le fossé, et quant ele vint u fons, si bel pié et ses beles mains, qui n'avoient mie apris c'on les bleçast, furent quaissies et escorcies et li sans en sali bien en dose lius, et ne por quant ele ne santi ne mal ne dolor por le grant paor qu'ele avoit. Et se ele fu en paine de l'entrer, encor fu ele en forceur de l'iscir. Ele se pensa qu'ileuc ne faisoit mie bon demorer, e trova un pel aguisié que cil dedens avoient jeté por le castel deffendre, si fist pas un avant l'autre, si monta tant a grans painnes qu'ele vint deseure. Or estoit li forés pres a deus arbalestees, qui bien duroit trente liues de lonc et de lé, si i avoit bestes sauvages et serpentine: ele ot paor que, s'ele i entroit, qu'eles ne l'ocesiscent, si se repensa que, s'on le trovoit ileuc, c'on le remenroit en le vile por ardoir.
 
 
 

 

v
                                        Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 20
 
XVII. Now it is sung: 
NOW bright-favoured Nicolete,

           Foot upon the moat-top set;
And her lamentation made,
Crying loud for Jesus' aid.
`Father, King of Majesty!
Now I know not where to fly!
Should I in the greenwood fare,
Soon the wolf will eat me there,
And the lion and wild boar, -
Creatures which are there galore.
Should I wait the daylight clear,
So my foes may find me here,
Straightway will the fire be lit,
And my body be burned in it.
But-O God of Majesty!-
Rather would I, verily,
That the wolf my body tore,
And the lion and wild boar,
Than I to the town should fare! 


      I will not there!" 


[XVII] Or se cante.
N ICOLETE o le vis cler

             Fu montee le fossé,
S i se prent a dementer
E t Jhesum a reclamer:
P ere, rois de maïsté,
O r ne sai quel part aler: [75.B]
S e je vois u gaut ramé,
J a me mengeront li lé,
L i lion et li sengler,
D ont il i a a plenté;
E t se j'atent le jor cler,
Q ue on me puist ci trover,
L i fus sera alumés
D ont mes cors iert enbrasés;
M ais, par Diu de maïsté,
E ncor aim jou mis assés
Q ue me mengucent li lé,
L i lion et li sengler,
Q ue je voisse en la cité

    J     e n'irai mie.
v
                             Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 77
 
XVIII. Now they speak and they relate and they tell.

NICOLETTE made great lamentation, as you have heard. She commended herself to God, and went on her way till she came into the forest. She durst not go deep into it, because of the wild beasts and the serpents; and she crept into a thick bush, and sleep fell upon her; and she slept till the morning at high prime, when the herd-boys came out of the town, and drove their beasts between the wood and the river; and they drew aside to a very beautiful spring which was at the edge of the forest, and spread out a cloak and put their bread on it. While they were eating, Nicolete awoke at the cry of the birds and of the herd-boys, and she hastened up to them. `Fair children!' said she, `may the Lord help you!' `May God bless you!' said the one who was more ready of speech than the rest. `Fair children', said she, `know you Aucassin, the son of Count Garin of Beaucaire?' `Yes, we know him well'. `So God help you, fair children,' said she, `tell him that there is a beast in this forest, and that he is to come and hunt it. And if he can catch it, he would not give one limb of it for a hundred marks of gold - no, not for five hundred, nor for any wealth'. And they gazed upon her, and saw her to be so beautiful that they were quite astonied at her. `I tell him?' said he who was more ready of speech than the others; `Sorrow be his who shall ever speak of it, or who shall ever tell him! 'Tis fantasy, what you say; since there is not in this forest so precious a beast, neither stag nor lion nor wild boar, one of whose limbs were worth more than two pence or three at the most; and you speak of so great wealth! Foul sorrow be his who believes you, or who shall ever tell him! You are a fay, and we have no care for your company, but keep on your way!' `Ah, fair children!' said she, `you will do this! This beast has such a medicine that Aucassin will be cured of his wound. And I have here five sous in my purse; take them, and tell him! And within three days must he hunt it; and if he find it not in three days, never more will he be cured of his wound!' `I' faith!' said he, `we will take the pence, and if he comes here we will tell him; but we will never go to seek him'. `I' God's name!' said she, Then she took leave of the herd-boys and went her way.

[XVIII] Or dient et content et fabloient.

N ICOLETE se dementa molt, si con vos avés oï; ele se commanda a Diu, si erra tant qu'ele vint en le forest. Ele n'osa mie parfont entrer por les bestes sauvaces et por le serpentine, si se quatist en un espés buisson; et soumax li prist, si s'endormi dusqu'au demain a haute prime que li pastorel iscirent de la vile et jeterent lor bestes entre le bos et la riviere, si se traien d'une part a une molt bele fontaine qui estoit au cief de la forest, si estendirent une cape, se missent lor pain sus. Entreusque il mengoient, et nicolete s'esveille au cri des oisiax et des pastoriax, si s'enbati sor aus. Bel enfant, fait ele, Damedis vos i aït! Dix vos benie! fait li uns qui plus fu enparlés des autres. -Bel enfant, fait ele, conissiés vos aucassin, le fil le conte garin [75v.A] de biaucaire? -Oïl, biens le counisçons nos. -Se Dic vos aït, bel enfant, fait ele, dites li qu'il a une beste en ceste forest et qu'i le viegne cacier, et s'il l'i puet prendre, il n'en donroit mie un menbre por cent mars d'or, non por cinc cens, ne por nul avoir. Et cil le regardent, se le virent si bele qu'il en furent tot esmari. Je li dirai? fait cil qui plus fu enparlés des autres; dehait ait qui ja en parlera, e qui ja li dira! C'est fantosmes que vos dites, qu'il n'a si ciere beste en ceste forest, ne cerf, ne lion, ne sengler, dont uns des menbres vaille plus de des deniers u de trois au plus, et vos parlés de si grant avoir! Ma dehait qui vos en croit, ne qui ja li dira! Vos este fee, si n'avons cure de vo conpaignie, mais tenés vostre voie. -Ha! bel enfant, fait ele, si ferés. Le beste a tal mecine que aucassins ert garis de son mehaing; et j'ai ci cinc sous en me borse: tenés, se li dites; et dedans trois jors li covient cacier, et se il dens trois jors ne le trove, ja mais n'iert garis de son mehaig. -Par foi, fait il, les deniers prenderons nos, et s'il vient ci, nos li dirons, mais nos ne l'irons ja quere. -De par Diu! fait ele. Lor prent congié as pastoriaus, si s'en va.

v
                                         Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 13v
 
XIX. Now it is sung. 
NICOLETE, bright-favoured maid, 

           To the herds her farewell bade,
And her journey straight addressed
Right amid the green forest,
Down a path of olden day;
Till she reached an open way
Where seven roads fork, that go out
Through the region round about.
Then the thought within her grew.
She will try her lover true,
If he love her as he said:-
She took many a lily head,
With the bushy kermes-oak shoot,
And of leafy boughs to boot,
And a bower so fair made she,-
Daintier did I never see!
By the truth of Heaven she sware,
Should Aucassin come by there,
And not rest a little space,
For her love's sake, in that place,
He should ne'er her lover be,


     Nor his love she!" 

[XIX] Or se cante. 
NICOLETE o le cler vis

     D     es pastoriaus se parti,
S i acoilli son cemin
T res par mi le gaut foilli [75v.B]
T out un viés sentier anti,
T ant qu'a une voie vint
U aforkent set cemin
Q ui s'en vont par le païs.
A porpenser or se prist
Q u'esprovera son ami
S 'i l'aime si com il dist.
E le prist des flors de lis
E t de l'erbe du garris
E t de le foille autresi,
U ne bele loge en fist,
A inques tant gente ne vi.
J ure Diu qui ne menti
S e par la vient aucasins
E t il por l'amor de li
N e s'i repose un petit,
J a ne sera ses amis, 

 N'  ele s'amie.
v
          Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 19v
 
XX. Now they speak and they relate and they tell.

NICOLETTE had made the bower, as you have listened and heard, - very pretty and very dainty; and had lined it well within and without with flowers and leaves; and had laid her down near the bower in a thick bush, to know what Aucassin would do. And the cry and the noise went abroad through all the land and through all the country that Nicolete was lost. Some say that she is fled away; and others say that Count Garin has had her slain. Whoever may have rejoiced at it, Aucassin was not glad. And Count Garin had him taken out of prison; and summoned the knights of the land, and the high-born damozels, and had a very grand feast made, because he thought to comfort Aucassin his son. While the feast was at its height, Aucassin was leaning against a balcony, all sorrowful and downcast. Whoever may have made merry, Aucassin had no fancy for it; since he saw there nothing of that which he loved. A certain knight beheld him, and came to him, and addressed him: `Aucassin', said he, `of such sickness as yours have I too been sick. I will give you good counsel, if you will trust me'. `Sir', said Aucassin, `Gramercy! good counsel should I hold dear'. `Mount on a horse,' said he, `and go along yon forest side to divert you; and you will see yon flowers and yon herbs, and will hear yon birds sing. Peradventure you shall hear such a word as shall make you better'. `Sir', said Aucassin, `Gramercy! so will I do". He stole away from the hall, and went down the steps, and came to the stable where his horse was. He had the saddle put on, and the bridle; he set foot in the stirrup, and mounted, and went forth out of the castle, and went on till he came to the forest; and he rode on till he came to the spring, and found the herd-boys at the point of None; and they had spread a cloak on the grass, and were eating their bread, and making very great merriment.


[XX] Or dient et content et fabloient.

NICOLETE eut faite le loge, si con vos avés oï et entendu, molt bele et mout gente, si l'ot bien forree dehors et dedens de flors et de foilles, si se repost delés le loge en un espés buison por savoir que aucassins feroit. Et li cris et li noise ala par tote le tere et par tot le païs que nicolete estoit perdue: li auquant dient qu'ele en estoit fuie, et li autre dient que li quens Garins l'a faite mordrir. Qui qu'en eust joie, aucassins n'en fu mie liés. Et li quens Garins ses peres le fist metre hors de prison, si manda les cevaliers de le tere et les demoiseles, si fist faire une mot rice feste, por çou qu'il cuida aucassin son fil conforter. Quoi que li feste estoit plus plaine, at aucassins fu apoiiés a une [76.A] puie tos dolans et tos souples; qui que demenast joie, aucassins n'en ot talent, qu'il n'i veoit riend de çou qu'il amoit. Uns cevaliers le regarda, si vint a lui, si l'apela. aucassins, fait il, d'ausi fait mal con vos avés ai je esté malades. Je vos donrai bon consel, se vos me volés croir.  -Sire, fait aucassins, grans mercis; bon consel aroie je cier. -Montés sor un ceval, fait il, s'alés selonc cele forest esbanoiier; si verrés ces flors et ces herbes, s'orrés ces oisellons canter; par aventure orrés tel parole dont mix vos iert. -Sire, fait aucassins, grans mercis; si ferai jou. Il s'enble de la sale, s'avale les degrés, si vient en l'estable ou ses cevaus estoit; il fait metre le sele et le frain; il met pié e estrier, si monte, et ist del castel; et erra tant qu'il vint a le forest, et cevauca tant qu'il vint a le fontaine, et trove les pastoriax au point de none; s'avoient une cape estendue sor l'erbe, si mangoient lor pain et faisoient mout tresgrant joie.

v
                                              Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 18v
 
XXI. Now it is sung.
NOWw the herd-boys gathered in; 

         There was John and Fruelin,
Martin came, and Esmaret,
Robin eke, and Aubriet.
Quoth the one, `Good fellows all,
Aucassin God's help befall!
Truth, a pretty lad, i'fay!
And the dainty-fashioned may,
Who of pale gold had her hair,
Bright her face, and eyes of vair;
Who gave us this pretty penny,
Which shall buy as cates a many,
Wallets eke, and hunting-knife,
Cornemuse and merry fife,
Cudgel stick and pipes moreover, 


     God help him recover!" 

[XXI] Or se cante.
OR s'asanlent pastouret,

   E     smerés et martinés, 
F rüelins et johanés,
R obeçons et aubriés.
L i uns dist: Bel conpaignet,
D ix aït aucasinet,
V oire a foi! le bel vallet; [76.B]
E t le mescine au corset
Q ui avoit le poil blondet,
C ler le vis et l'oeul vairet,
K i nos dona denerés
D ont acatrons gastelés,
G aïnes et coutelés,
F laüsteles et cornés,
M açueles et pipés,

 D   ix le garisse!
v
                                             Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 24
 
XXII. Now they speak and they relate and they tell. 

WHEN Aucassin heard the shepherd boys, he minded him of Nicolete, his most sweet friend whom he loved so much; and he bethought him that she had been there. And he pricked his horse with his spurs, and came to the shepherd boys. `Fair children', said he, `may God help you'. `May God bless you!' said he who was more ready of speech than the others. `Fair children', said he, `say again the song you were singing just now!' `We will not say it,' said he who was more ready of speech than the others; `Now sorrow be his who shall sing it for you, fair sir!' `Fair children', said Aucassin, `do you not know me?' `Yes, we know well that you are Aucassin, our young lord; but we do not belong to you, but we belong to the Count'. `Fair children! you will do so, I pray you!' `Hear him, by the blessed heart!' said he. `Why should I sing for you, an it suited me not? Since there is not so rich a man in this country, - saving Count Garin,- that if he found my oxen or my cows or my sheep in his meadows or in his wheat, he would be so reckless of having his eyes torn as to dare to drive them out of it. And why should I sing for you an it suited me not?' `So God help you, fair children, you will do this! And take ten sous which I have here in a purse!' `Sir, we will take the pence, but I will not sing to you, for I have sword it; but I will tell it to you, if you will'. `I' God's name!' said Aucassin; `I had rather have it told than nothing'. `Sir, were were here just now, between Prime and Terce, and were eating out bread at this spring, just as we are doing now. And a maiden came here, the most beautiful thing in the world, so that we thought it was a fay, and that all the wood lightened with her. And she gave us of her money so much that we made agreement with her, if you came here, we would tell you that you should go a'hunting in this forest; since there is a beast there, which could you catch it, you would not give one of its limbs for five hundred marks of gold, nor for any wealth. For the beast has such a medicine, that if you can catch it, you will be cured of your wound. And within three days must you have caught it, and if you have not caught it, never more will you see it. Now hunt it an you will, or an you will leave it; for I have well acquitted myself towards her.' `Fair children', said Aucassin, `you have said enough; and God grant me to find it!' 

[XXII] Or dient et content et fabloient

QUANT aucassins oï les pastoriax, si li sovint de nicolete se tresdouce amie qu'il tant amoit, et si se pensa qu'ele avoit la esté; et il hurte le ceval des eperons, si vint as pastoriax. Bel enfant, Dix vos i aït! -Dix vos benie! fait cil qui fu plus enparlés des autres. -Bel enfant, fait il, redites le cançon que vos disiés ore. -Nous n'i dirons, fait cil qui plus fu enparlés des autres. Dehait ore qui por vous i cantera, biax sire! -Bel enfant, fait aucassins, enne me conissiés vos? -Oïl, nos savions bien que vos estes aucassins nos damoisiax, mais nos ne somes mie a vos, ains somes au conte. - Bel enfant, si ferés, je vos en pri. -Os, por le cuerbé! fait cil; por quoi canteroie je por vos, s'il ne me seoit, quant il n'a si rice home en cest païs, sand le cors le conte Garin, s'il trovoit mé bués ne mes vaces ne mes brebis en ses pres n'en sen forment, qu'il fust mie tant herdis por les ex a crever qu'ils les en ossast cacier? Et por quoi canteroie je por vos, s'il ne me seoit? -Se Dis vos aït, bel enfant, si ferés; et tenés [76v.A] x sous que j'ai ci en une borse. -Sire, les deniers prenderons nos, mais ce ne vos canterai mie, car j'en ai juré; mais je le vos conterai, se vos volés. -De par Diu, fait aucassins, encor aim je mix conter que nient. -Sire, nos estiiens orains ci entre prime et tierce, si mangiens no pain a ceste fontaine, ausi con nos faisons ore, et une pucele vint ci, li plus bele riens du monde, si que nos quidames que ce fust une fee, et que tos cis bos en esclarci; si nos dona tant del sien que nos li eumes en covent, se vos veniés ci, nos vos desisiens que vos alissiés cacier en ceste forest, qu'il a une beste que, se vos le poiiés prendre, vos n'en donriiés mie un des menbres por cinc cens mars d'argent ne por nul avoir: car li beste a tel mecine que, se vos le poés prendre, vos serés garis de vo mehaig; et dedans trois jors le vos covien avoir prisse, et se vos ne l'avés prise, ja mais ne le verrés. Or le caciés se vos volés, et se vos volés si le laiscié, car je m'en sui bien acuités vers li. -Bel enfant, fait aucassins, assés en avés dit, et Dix le me laist trovr!

v
                               Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 77
 
XXIII. Here one singeth. 
AUCASSIN heard told to him 

         His love's words, the lithe of limb:
Deep they entered into him.
From the herds he parted quick,
Made into the greenswood thick.
Nimbly paced his noble steed,
Bore him fairly at full speed.
Then three words he spake, and said,
`Nicolete, O lithe-limbed maid,
For your sake I thread the glade!
Stag nor boar I now pursue,
But the trail I hunt for you.
Your lithe body and bright eyes,
Your sweet laugh and soft replies,
Sore to death have wounded me.
But, - Heaven's puissant will so be!-
I will look upon you yet,


     Sweet Nicolete!" 

[XXIII] Or se cante. 
AUCASSINS oï les mos

 D       e s'amie o le gent cors,
D es pastoriax se part tost,
S i entra el parfont bos;
L i destriers li anble tost; [76v.B]
B ien l'en porte les galos.
O r parla, s'a dit trois mos:
N icolete o le gent cors,
P or vos sui venus en bos;
J e ne cac ne cerf ne porc,
M ais por vos siu les esclos.
V o vair oiel et vos gens cors,
V os biax ris et vos dox mos
O nt men cuer navré a mort.
S e Diu plaist le pere fort,
J e vous reverai encor, 

   S   uer douce amie.
v
                                       Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 13v
 
XXVI. Now they speak and they relate and they tell. 

AUCASSIN went through the forest from road to road, and his good steed bore him on apace. Do not think that the briars and thorns spared him! Never a deal! But they tore his clothes, so that one could hardly have tied them together over him, where most whole; and so that the blood flowed from his arms and from his sides and from his legs, in forty places or in thirty; so that, going behind the boy, one could have followed the track of the blood that fell upon the grass. But he thought so much on Nicolete, his sweet friend, that he felt neither hurt nor pain. And all day long he went through the forest thus, nor ever heard news of her. And when he saw that the evening was drawing on, he began to weep because he found her not. All down an old grass-grown way he rode on. He looked before him amid the way, and saw a boy such as I will tell you. He was tall and wonderful and ugly and hideous. He had a great shock headm blacker than a coal, and had more than a full palm-breadth between his two eyes; and he had great cheeks, and an immense flat nose, and great wide nostrils, and thick lips, redder than a broiled steak, and great yellow ugly teetch; and he was shod in leggings and shoes of ox-hide, laced with bast up to over the knee; and he was wrapped in a cloak with two wrong sides, and was leaning on a great club. Aucassin hastened towards him, and was in great fear when he looked at him close. `Fair brother, may God help thee!' `May God bless you', said he. `So God help thee, what doest thou here?' `What matters it to you?' said he. `Nothing', said Aucassin; `I ask you not save for good'. `But why are you weeping', said he, `and making such dole? Certes, were I so rich a man as you are, all the world would not make me weep!' `Ha! Do you know me?' said Aucassin. `Yes, I know well that you are Aucassin, the son of the Count; and if you will tell me why you are weeping, I will tell you what I am doing here'. `Certes, said Aucassin, `I will tell you right willingly. I came this morning to hunt in this forest; and I had a white greyhound, the most beautiful in the world, and I have lost it; for this am I weeping'. `Hear him', said he, `by the blessed heart! That you should have wept for a stinking dog! Foul sorrow be his who shall ever esteem you again! Since there is not so rich a man in this land, if your father demanded of him ten, or fifteen, or twenty, but he would have given them too willingly, and would be too glad.- But I ought to weep and make dole'. `And thou for what, brother?' `Sir, I will tell you. I was hired to a rich villein, and drove his plough, -four oxen there were. It is now three days since a great misadventure befel me, that I lost the best of my oxen, Roget, the best of my team, and am going in search of it. And I have neither eaten nor drunk these three days past; and I dare not go to the town, as they would put me in pirson, since I have not wherewith to pay for it. Of all the wealth in the world, I have nothing of worth but what you see on the body of me. I had a poor old mother, and she had nothing of worth besides a mattress, and they have dragged it from under her back, and she lies on the pure straw; and for this I am a deal more troubled than for myself. For wealth comes and goes; if I have lost now, I shall gain another time, and I shall pay for my ox when I can; nor will I ever weep for this. And you wept for a dog of the dunghill! Foul sorrow be his who shall ever esteem you again!' `Certes, you are of good comfort, fair brother! A blessing on you! And what was your ox worth?' `Sir, twenty sous do they ask me for it; I cannot abate a single farthing'. `Now take', said Aucassin, `twenty which I have here in my purse, and pay for your ox!' `Sir', said he, `GRamercy! and may God grant you to find what you seek!' He took his leave of him; and Aucassin rode on. The night was fine and still; and he went on till he came to the place where the seven roads fork, and he looked before him, and saw the bower which Nicolete had made; and the bower was lined within and without and above that prettier it could not be. When Aucassin perceived it, he stopped all in a moment; and the light of the moon smote within it. `Ah, Heaven!' said Aucassin, `Here has been Nicolete, my sweet friend; and this did she make with her beautiful hands! For the sweetness of her, and for her love, I will now alight here, and will rest therein this night through'. He put his foot out of the stirrup to alight; and the horse was big and high. He thought so much on Nicolete, his most sweet friend, that he fell so hard upon a stone, that his shoulder flew out of the place. He felt that he was much hurt; but he bestirred himself as well as he could, and tied his horse up with his other hand to a thorn; and turned over on his side, so that he came all on his back into the bower. And he looked through a chink in the bower, and saw the stars in the sky; and he saw one there brighter than the rest, and he began to say:


[XXIV] Or dient et content et fabloient.

AUCASSINS ala par le forest de voie en voie et li destriers l'en porta grant aleure. Ne quidiés mie que les ronces et les espines l'esparnaiscent. Nenil nient! ains li desronpent ses dras qu'a painnes peust on nouer desu el plus entier, et que li sans li isci des bras et des costés et des ganbes en quarante lius u en trente, qu'aprés le vallet peust on suir le trace de sanc qui caoit sor l'erbe. Mais il pensa tant a nicolete sa douce amie, qu'i ne sentoit ne mal ne dolor; et ala tote jor par mi le forest si faitement que onques n'oï noveles de li; et quant il vit que li vespres aproçoit, si comença a plorer por çou qu'il ne trovoit. Tote une viés voie herbeuse cevaucoit, s'esgarda devant lui en mi le voie, si vit un vallet tel con je vos dirai. Grans estoit et mervellex et lais et hidex; il avoit une grande hure plus noire q'une carbouclee, et avoit plus de planne paume entre deus ex, et avoit unes [77.A] grandes joes et un grandisme nes plat et unes grans narines lees et unes grosses levres plus rouges d'une carbounee et uns grans dens gaunes et lais; et estoit cauciés d'uns housiax et d'uns sollers de buef fretés de tille dusque deseure le genol, et estoit afulés d'une cape a deus envers, si estoit apoiiés sor un grande maçue. aucassins s'enbati sor lui, s'eut grant paor quant il le sorvit. - Biax frere, Dix t'i aït! - Dix vos benie! fait cil. - Se Dix t'aït, que fais tu ilec? - A vos que monte? fait cil. - Nient, fait aucassins; je nel vos demant se por bien non. - Mais por quoi plourés vos, fait cil, et faites si fait duel? Certes, se j'estoie ausi rices hom que vos estes, tos li mons ne me feroit mie plorer. - Ba! me conissiés vos? fait aucassins. - Oie, je sai bien que vos estes aucassins, li fix le conte, et se vos me dites por quoi vos plorés, je vos dirai que je fac ci. - Certes, fait aucassins, je le vos dirai molt volontiers: je vig hui matin cacier en ceste forest, s'avoie un blanc levrer, le plus bel del siecle, si l'ai perdu: por ce pleur jou. - Os! fait cil, por le cuer que cil Sires eut en sen ventre! que vos plorastes por un cien puant? Mal dehait ait qui ja mais vos prisera, quant il n'a si rice home en ceste terre, se vos peres l'en mandoit dis u quinse u vint, qu'il ne les eust trop volontiers, et s'en esteroit trop liés. Mais je dois plorer et dol faire. - Et tu de quoi [77.B], frere? - Sire, je le vous dirai. J'estoire luiés a un rice vilain, si caçoie se carue, quatre bués i avoit. Or a trois jors qu'il m'avint une grande malaventure, que je perdi le mellor de mes bués, Roget, le mellor de me carue; si le vois querant, si ne mangai ne ne buc trois jors a passés; si n'os aler a le vile, c'on me metroit en prison, que je ne l'ai de quoi saure: de tot l'avoir du monde n'ai je plus vaillant que vos veés sor le cors de mi. Une lasse mere avoie, si n'avoit plus vaillant que une keutisele, si li a on sacie de desou le dos, si gist a pur l'estrain, si m'en poise assés plus que de mi; car avoirs va et vient: se j'ai or perdu, je gaaignerai une autre fois, si sorrai mon buef quant je porrai, ne ja por çou n'en plouerai. Et vos plorastes por un cien de longaigne? Mal dehait ait qui ja mais vos prisera! - Certes, tu es de bon confort, biax frere; que benois soies tu! Et que valoit tes bués? - Sire, vint sous m'en demande on; je n'en puis mie abatre une seule maaille. - Or tien, fait aucassins, vint que j'ai ci en me borse, si sol ten buet. - Sire, fait il, grans mercis, et Dix vos laist trover ce que vos querés! Il se part de lui; aucassins si cevauce. La nuis fu bele et quoie, et il erra tant qu'il vin . . . . . . . . si . . . . . nicolete . . . . . [77v.A] defors et dedens et par deseure et devant de flors, et estoit si bele que plus ne pooit estre. Quant aucassins le perçut, si s'aresta tot a un fais, et li rais de le lune feroit ens. - E! Dix, fait aucassins, si fu nicolete me douce amie, et ce fist ele a ses beles mains; por le douçour de li et por s'amor me descenderai je ore si et m'i reposerai anuit mais. Il mist le pié de l'estrier por descendre, et li cevaus fu grans et haus; il pensa tant a nicolete se tresdouce amie qu'il caï si durement sor une piere que l'espaulle li vola hors du liu. Il se senti molt blecié, mais il s'efforça tant au mix qu'il peut et ataca son ceval a l'autre main a une espine, si se torna sor costé tant qu'il vint tos souvins en le loge; et il garda par mi un trau de le loge, si vit les estoiles el ciel, s'en i vit une plus clere des autres, si conmença a dire.

v
                                               Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 18v
 
XXV. Now it is sung.
"LITTLE star, I see you plain, 

         That the moon draws to her train!
Nicolete is with you there,
My love, of the golden hair.
God, methinks, wants her in heaven,
To become the lamp of even
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
How so great my fall might be,
Would that I were there with thee!
Closely would I kiss and cling!
Were I son to crowned king,
Thou shouldst well become me yet, 


     Sweet Nicolete!" 

[XXV] Or se cante. 
ESTOILETE, je te voi,
          Que la lune trait a soi;
N icolete est aveuc toi,
M 'amïete o le blont poil.
J e quid Dix le veut avoir
P or la lu . . . e de s . . .
. . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . 
. . . . . . . . . . [77v.B]
Q ue que fust du recaoir
Q ue fuisse lassus o toi:
J e te baiseroie estroit.
S e j'estoie fix a roi,
S 'afferriés vos bien a moi, 

   S  uer douce amie.

 

v
                                      Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 20
 
XXVI. Now they speak and they relate and they tell.

WHEN Nicolete heard Aucassin she came to him, for she was not far off. She came into the bower, and threw her arms round his neck, and kissed and caressed him. `Fair sweet friend, well be you met!' `And you, fair sweet friend, be you well met!' They kissed and caressed each other, and their joy was beautiful. `Ah, sweet friend!' said Aucassin, `I was but now sore hurt in my shoulder; and now I feel neither hurt nor pain since I have you!' She felt him about, and found that he had his shoulder out of place. She plied it so deftly with her white hands, and pulled it (as God willed, who loves lovers), so that it came again into place. And then she took flowers and fresh grass and green leaves, and bound them on with the lappet of her smock, and he was quite healed. `Aucassin', she said, `fair sweet friend, take counsel what you will do! If your father makes them search this forest tomorrow, and they find me, whatever may become of you, they will kill me!' `Certes, fair sweet friend, I should be much grieved at that! But, an I be able, they shall never have hold of you!' He mounted on his horse, and takes his love in front of him, kissing and caressing her; and they set out into the open country.

[XXVI] Or dient et content et fabloient.

QUANT nicolete oï aucassin, ele vint a lui, car ele n'estoit mie lonc; ele entra en la loge, si le jeta ses bras au col, si le baisa et acola. - Biax doux amis, bien soiiés vos trovés! - Et vos, bele douce amie, soiés li bien trovee! Il s'entrebaissent et acolent, si fue la joie bele. - Ha! douce amie, fait aucassins, j'estoie ore molt bleciés en m'espaulle, et or ne senc ne mal ne dolor, pui que je vos ai. Ele le portasta et trova qu'il avoit l'espaulle hors du liu; ele le mania tant a ses blances mains et porsaca, si con Dix le vaut qui les amans ainme, qu'ele revint a liu; et puis si prist des flors et de l'erbe fresce et des fuelles verdes, si le loia sus a pan de sa cemisse; et il fu tox garis. - aucassins, fait ele, baius dox amis, prendés consel que vous ferés: se vos peres fait demain cerquier ceste forest et on me trouve, que que vous aviegne, on m'ocira. - Certes, bele douce amie, j'en esteroie molt dolans; mais, se je puis, il ne vos tenront ja. Il monta sor [78.A] son ceval et prent s'amie devant lui, baisant et acolant, si se metent as plains cans.

v
                                       Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol.18v
 

XXVII. Now it is sung. 
AUCASSIN the fair, the blond, 

      Gentle knight and lover fond,
Rode from out the thick forest;
In his arms his love was pressed,
On the saddle-bow before;
And he kissed her o'er and o'er,
Eyes and brows and lips and chin.
Then to him did she begin:
`Aucassin, fair lover sweet,
To what country shall we flee?'
`Sweet my love, what should I know?
Little care I where we go,
In the greenwood or away,
So I am with you alway!'
Hill and vale they fleeted by,
Town and fortress fenced high,
Till they came at dawn of day
Where the sea before them lay;
There they lighted on the sand, 


     Beside the strand. 

[XXVII] Or se cante.
AUCASSINS li biax, li blons,

      Li gentix, li amorous,
E st issus del gaut parfont,
E ntre ses bras ses amors
D evant lui sor son arçon; 
L es ex li baise et le front
E t le bouce et le menton.
E le l'a mis a raison:
A ucassins, biax amis dox,
E n tuel tere en irons nous?
D ouce amie, que sai jou?
M oi ne caut u nous aillons,
E n forest u en destor,
M ais que je soie aveuc vous.
P assant les vaus et les mons
E t les viles et les bors;
A la mer vinrent au jor,
S i descendent u sablon 

       Les le rivage.
v
                            Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 77
 
XXVIII. Now they speak and they relate and they tell.

AUCASSIN had alighted, he and his love together. as you have listened and heard. He held his horse by the bridle and his love by the hand, and they began to go along the shore. And Aucassin saw merchants sailing near the shore. He beckoned to them and they came up to him; and he bargained with them so that they took him in their ship. And when they were on the high sea there arose a great and wonderful storm, which carried them from land to land till they arrived at a foreign land, and entered the castle of Torelore. Then they asked what land it was; and they told them that it was the land of the king of Torelore. Then he asked, who was he, and if he had any war; and they told him. `Yes, a great one.' He took leave of the marchants, and they commended him to God. He mounted his horse, with his sword girt, and his love before him, and went on till he came to the castle. He asked where the king was, and they told him that he lay in child-bed. `And where then is his wife?' And they told him that she was with the army, and had taken there all the folk of the country. And Aucassin heard it, and it seemed to him very wonderful. And he came to the palace, and alighted, he and his love together. And she held his horse, and he went up to the palace with his sword girt; and went on till he came to the room where the king lay a-bed.

[XXVIII] Or dient et content et fabloient.

AUCASSINS fu descendues entre lui et s'amie, si con vous avés oï et entendu; il tint son ceval par le resne et s'amie par le main, si conmencent aler selonc le rive . . . Il les acena et il vinrent a lui, si fist tant vers aus qu'i le missen en lor nef; et quant il furent en haute mer, une tormente leva, grande et mervelleuse, qui les mena de tere en tere, tant qu'il ariverent en une tere estragne et [78.B] entrerent el port du castel de Torelore. Puis demanderent ques terre c'estoit, et on lor dist que c'estoit le tere le roi de Torelore; puis demanda quex hon c'estoit, ne s'il avoit gerre, et en li dist: Oïl, grande. Il prent congié as marceans et cil le conmanderent a Diu; il monte sor son ceval, s'espee çainte, s'amie devant lui, et erra tant qu'il vint el castel; il demande u li rois estoit, et on li dist qu'il gissoit d'enfent. - Et u est dont se femme? Et on li dist qu'ele est en l'ost et si i avoit mené tox ciax du païs; et aucassins l'oï, si li vint a grant mervelle; et vint au palais et descendi entre lui et s'amie; et ele tint son ceval et il monta u palais, l'espee çainte, et erra tant qu'il vint en le canbre u li rois gissoit.

v
                                   Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, folio 13v
 
XXIX. Now it is sung.
STRAIGHT into the chamber went

           Aucassin, the kind, the gentle;
Right to the bed he made
On which the king was laid;
There before his face he stayed
And so said (I pray you hear!)
`Shrew you, fool! What are you doing?'
Said the king, `I am in child-bed.
When my month is fully up,
And I am recovered quite,
I shall go to mass forthright,
As did my late ancestor,
And to speed my might war
Gainst my foemen in the field; 


      I will not yield!" 

[XXIX] Or se cante.
EN le canbre entre aucassins, 

          Li cortois et li gentis;
I l est venues dusque au lit,
A lec u li rois se gist;
P ar devant lui s'arestit,
S i parla; oés que dist:
D i va! fau, que fais tu ci?
D ist li rois: Je gis d'un fil;
Q uant mes mois sera conplis
E t je sarai bien garis,
D ont irai le messe oïr,
S i com mes ancestre fist, [78v.A]
E t me grant guerre esbaudir
E ncontre mes anemis 

    N    el lairai mie.
v
                           Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 77
 
XXX: Now they speak and they relate and they tell.

WHEN Aucassin heard the king speak thus, he took all the clothes which were on him and flung them down the room. He saw behind him a stick. He took it and turned and struck him, and beat him so that he was like to have killed him. `Ah, fair sir,' said the king, `what do you demand of me? Have you lost your wits, you who beat me in my own house?' `By the blessed heart,' said Aucassin, `foul son of a wench, I will kill you, if you do not promise me that never again shall any man in your land lie in child-bed!' He promised him; and when he had promised him, `Sir', said Aucassin, `now take me to where your wife is with the army!' `Sir, willingly!' said the king. He mounted a horse, and Aucassin mounted him; and Nicolete remained behind in the queen's chambers. And the king and Aucassin rode on till they came to where the queen was; and they found the battle was with roasted crabapples, and eggs, and fresh cheeses. And Aucassin began to watch them; and he wondered very greatly.


[XXX] Or dient et conten et fabloient.

QUANT aucassins oï ensi le roi parler, il prist tox le dras qui sor lui estoient, si les houla aval le canbre; il vit deriere lui un baston, il le prist, si torne, si fiert, si le bati tant que mort le dur avour. - Ha! biax sire, fait li rois, que me demandés vos? Avés vos le sens dervé, qui en me maison me batés? - Par le cuer Diu! fait aucassins, malvais fix a putain, je vos ocirai, se vos ne m'afiés que ja mais hom en vo tere d'enfant ne gerra. Il li afie; et quant il li ot afié: - Sire, fait aucassins, or me menés la u vostre femme est en l'ost. - Sire, volentiers, fait li rois. Il monte sor un ceval, et aucassins monte sor le sien, et nicolete remest es canbres la roine. Et li rois et aucassins cevaucierent tant qu'il vinrent la u la roine estoit, et troverent la bataille de poms de bos waumonnés e d'ueus et de fres fromages; et aucassins les conmença a regarder, se s'en esmervella molt durement.

v
         Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 19v
 
XXXI. Now it is sung. 
AUCASSIN drew rein to see, 

          Elbow propped on saddle-tree,
And began to watch the fray
Of that field in full array.
They had brought to battle there,
Store of cheeses fresh and fair,
Wild crab-apples roasted through,
And great meadow mushrooms too.
He who troubles best the fords,
Is proclaimed their lord of lords.
Aucassin, the noble knight,
Began to watch them at their fight,


     And laughed outright. 

[XXXI] Or se cante. 
A UCASSINS est arestés, 

           Sor son arçon acoutés, [78v.B]
S i coumence a regarder
C e plenier estor canpel:
I l avoient aportés
D es fromages fres assés
E t puns de bos waumonés
E t grans canpegneus canpés;
C il qui mix torble les gués
E st li plus sire clamés.
A ucassins, li prex, li ber,
L es coumence a regarder, 

 S'    en prist a rire.
v

                                      Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 13v
 
XXXII. Now they speak and they relate and they tell.

WHEN Aucassin saw this wonder, he came to the king and addressed him: `Sir,' said Aucassin, `are these your enemies?' `Yes, sir!' said the king. `And would you that I should avenge you of them?' `Yes,' said he, `willingly'. And Aucassin put his hand to his sword, and dashed in among them, and began to strike to right and to left, and killed many of them. And when the king saw that he was killing them, he caught him by the bridle, and said, `Ah, fair sir! Do not kill them so!' `How?' said Aucassin. `Do you not wish that I should avenge you?' `Sir,' said the king, `too much have you done so! It is not our custom to kill one another'. The enemies turn to flight; and the king and Aucassin return to the castle of Torelore. And the people of the country spoke to the king that he should drive Aucassin out of his land, and keep Nicolete for his son, since she seemed truly a lday of high degree. And Nicolete heard it, and she was not well pleased; and she began to say.

[XXXII] Or dient et content et flabent.

QUANT aucassins vit cele merveille, si vint au roi, si l'apele.- Sire, fait aucassins, sont ce ci vostre anemi? - Oïl, sire, fait li rois. - Et vouriiés vos que je vos en venjasse? Oie, fait il, volontiers. Et aucassins met le main a l'espee, si se lance en mi ax, si conmence a ferir a destre et a senestre, et s'en ocit molt. Et quant li rois vit qu'i les ocioit, il le prent par le frain et dist: - Ha! biax sire, ne les ociés mie si faitement. - Conment? fait aucassins, en volés vos que je vos venge? - Sire, dist li rois, trop en avés vos fait: il n'est mie costume que nos entrocions li uns l'autre. Cil tornent en fuies; et li rois et aucassins s'en repairent au castel de Torelore. Et les gens del païs dient au roi qu'il cast aucassin for de sa tere, et si detiegne nicolete aveuc son fil, qu'ele sanbloit bien fenme de haut lignage. Et nicolete loï, si n'en fu mie lie, si conmença a dire.

v
                                            Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 13v
 
XXXIII: Now it is sung.
"KING of Torelore, my lord!' 

     (Spake fair Nicolete this word,)
`Fool I seem in your folk's sight!
When my dear love clasps me tight,
And he finds me soft and sweet,
Then am I in school so meet,
Ball, carole, and roundelay,
Viol, rebeck, and harp-play,
All of merriment and mirth 


     Were nothing worth." 

[XXXIII] Or se cante. [79.A] 
SIRE rois de Torelore,

        Ce dist la bele nichole,
V ostre gens me tient por fole:
Q uant mes dox amis m'acole
E t il me sent grasse et mole,
D ont sui jou a tele escole,
B aus ne tresce ne carole,
H arpe, gigle ne viole,
M e deduis de la nimpole 

     N'i vauroit mie.

Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, français 2168,  fol. 70
v

                               Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 13v
 
XXXIV. Now they speak and they relate and they tell.

AUCASSIN was at the castle of Torelore, in great contentment and in great delight, for he had with him Nicolete, his sweet friend, whom he loved so much. While he was in such contentment and in such delight, a fleet of Saracens came by sea and attacked the castle and took it by storm. They seized the spoil, and carried off captive men and women. They took Nicolete and Aucassin, and bound Aucassin hand and foot and threw him into a ship, and Nicolete into another. And there arose a storm at sea which separated them. The ship in which Aucassin was went drifting over the sea till it arrived at the castle of Beaucaire. And the people of the country ran to plunder the wreck, and found Aucassin, and recognised him. When the people of Beaucaire saw their young lord, they made great rejoicing over him; for Aucassin had stayed at the castle of Torelore full three years, and his father and mother were dead. They brought him to the castle of Beaucaire, and all became his men; and he held his land in peace.

[XXXIV] Or dient et content et flaboient.

AUCASSINS fu el castel de Torelore, et nicolete s'amie, a grant aise et a grant deduit, car il avoit aveuc lui nicolete sa douce amie que tant amoit. En ço qu'il estoit en tel aisse et en tel deduit, et uns estores des Sarrasins vinrent par mer, s'asalirent au castel, si le prissent par force; il prissent l'avoir, s'en menerent caitis et kaitives; il prissent nicolete et aucassin, et si loierent aucassin les mains et les piés et si le jeterent en une nef et nicolete en une autre; si leva une tormente par mer que les espartist. Li nes u aucassins estoit ala tant par mer waucrant qu'ele ariva au castel de biaucaire; et les gens du païs cururent au lagan, si troverent aucassin, si les reconurent. Quant cil de biaucaire virent lor damoisel, s'en fisent grant [79.B] joie, car aucassins avoit bien mes u castel de Torelore trois ans, et ses peres et se mere estoient mort. Il le menerent u castle de biaucaire, si devinrent tot si home, si tint se tere en païs.

v
                                           Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 24
 
XXXV. Now it is sung.
THUS did Aucassin repair 

      To his city of Beaucaire.
All the realm and region o'er
Rule in quietness he bore.
Vowed he by Heaven's majesty,
More past measure mourned he
Nicolete, the bright of hue,
Than his kinsmen every one,
Though they all were dead and gone,
`Bright of favour, sweet love friend!
Now I know not where to go.
Never did God make that country,
Over land or over sea,
Whither, did I think to view you, 


     I would not follow you!" 

[XXXV] Or se cante. 
AUCASSINS s'en est alés 

       A biaucaire sa cité 
L e païs e le regné
T int trestout en quiteé. 
J ure Diu de maïsté
Q u'il li poise plus assés
D e nicholete au vis cler 
Q ue de tot sen parenté
S 'il estoit a fin alés.
D ouce amie o le vis cler,
O r ne vous ai u quester;
A inc Diu ne fist ce regné
N e par terre ne par mer,
S e t'i quidoie trover,

         ne t'i quesisce.
v
        Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail. fol. 19v
 
XXXVI. Now they speak and they relate and they tell.

NOW they speak and they relate and they tell. Now we will leave off about Aucassin, and tell of Nicolete. The ship in which Nicolete was, was the king of Carthage's, and he was her father, and she had twelve brothers, all princes or kings. When they saw Nicolete so beautiful, they did her bery great honour, and made rejoicing over her; and much they questioned of her who she was; for truly she seemed a very noble lady and of high degree. But she could not tell them who she was; for she was carried off as a little child. They sailed on till they came under the city of Carthage. And when Nicolete saw the walls of the castle, and the country, she remembered that she had been brought up there, and carried off as a little child; but she was not such a little child that she did not know well that she had been daughter to the king of Carthage, and that she had been brought up in the city.

[XXXVI] Or dient et content et fabloien. 

OR lairons d'aucassin, si dirons de nicolete.
La nes u nicolete estoit estoit le roi de Cartage, et cil estoit ses peres, et si avoit dose freres, tos princes u rois. Quant il virent nicolete si bele, se li porterent molt grant honor et fisent feste de li, et molt li demanderent qui ele estoit, car molt sanbloit bien gentix fenme et de haut lignage. Mais ele ne lor sort a dire qui ele estoit, [79v.A] car ele fue pree petis enfes. Il nagierent tant qu'il ariverent desox le cité de Cartage, et quant nicolete vit les murs del castel et le païs, ele se reconut, qu'ele i avoit esté norie et pree petis enfes, mais ele ne fue mie si petis enfes que ne seust bien qu'ele avoit esté fille au roi de Cartage et qu'ele avoit esté norie en le cité.

v
                                         Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 13v
 
XXXVII. Now it is sung.
NICOLETE the wise, the brave,

     Won to land from off the wave,
Saw the houses and the walls,
And the palaces and the halls,
Then she wept her piteous fate:
`Woe is me, my high estate!
Born king's daughter of Carthage,
Of the Sultan's lineage.
I am held by a savage horde.
Aucassin, my gentle lord,
Honourable, wise and freem
Your sweet love constraineth me,
Loudly calls and urges sore.
Grant me holy Heaven, once more
You, my love, in my arms to lace,
Feel your kisses on my face,
On my lips and forehead poured, 


     My liege, my lord!" 

[XXXVII] Or se cante.
  NICHOLE li preus li sage 

           Est arivee a rivage,
V oit les murs et les astages
E t les palais et les sales;
D ont si s'est clamee lasse:
T ant mar fui de haut parage,
N e fille au roi de Cartage,
N e cousine l'amuaffle!
C i me mainnent gent sauvage.
A ucassin gentix et sages
F rans damoisiax honorables,
V os douces amors me hastent
E t semonent et travaillent.
C e doinst Dix l'esperitables
C 'oncor vous tiengne en me brace,
E t que vos baissiés me face
Et me bouce et mon visage

 D    amoisiax sire.
v
                                             Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 18v
 
XXXVIII. Now they speak and they relate and they tell.

WHENen the king of Carthage heard Nicolete speak thus, he threw his arms round her neck. `Fair sweet friend!' said he, `Tell me who you are! Do not be afraid of me!' `Sir,' she said, `I am daughter to the king of Carthage, and was carried off as a little child, full fifteen years ago'. When they heard her speak thus, they knew well that she said truly; and they made very great rejoicing over her, and brought her to the palace with great honour as a king's daughter. They wished to give her for lord a king of a pagan people, but she cared not to marry. She was there full three days or four. She considered with herself by what device she might go to seek Aucassin. She obtained a viol and learned to play on it; till one day they wished to marry her to a rich pagan king, and she stole away in the night, and came to the seaport, and took up her lodging at the house of a poor woman on the seashore. And she took a herb, and smeared her head and face with it, so that she was all black and stained. And she got made coat and cloak and shirt and breeches, and she attired herself in minstrel guise; and she took her viol, and went to a mariner, and bargained with him so that he took her in his ship. They set their sail, and sailed over the high sea till they arrived at the land of Provence. And Nicolete went forth, and took her viol, and went playing through the country, till she came to the castle of Beaucaire, where Aucassin was.

[XXXVIII] Or dient et content et fabloient.

QUANT li rois de Cartage oï nicolete ensi parler, il li geta ses bras au col. Bele douce amie, fait il, dites moi qui vos estes; ne vos esmaiiés mie de mi. - Sire, fait ele, je sui fille au roi de Cartage et fui preée petis enfes, bien a quinse ans. Quant il l'oïrent ensi parlier, si seurent bien qu'ele disoit voir, si fissen de li molt grant feste, si le menerent u palais a grant honeur, si conme fille de roi. Baron li vourent doner un roi de paiiens, mais ele n'avoit cure de marier. La fu bien trois jors u quatre. Ele se porpensa par quel engien ele porroit aucassin querre; ele quist une viele, s'aprist a vieler, tant c'on le vaut marier un jor a un roi rice paiien. Et ele s'enbla la nuit, si vint au port de mer, si de herberga ciés une povre fenme sor le rivage; si prist une herbe, si en oinst son cief et son visage, si qu'ele fu tote noire et tainte. Et ele fist faire cote et mantel et cemisse et braies, si s'atorna a guise de jogleor; si prist se viele, si vint a un marounier, se fist tant vers lui qu'il le mist en se nef. Il drecierent lor voile, si nagierent tant par haute mer qu'il ariverent en le terre de Provence. Et nicolete issi fors, si prist se viele, si ala vielant par le païs tant qu'ele vint au castel di biaucaire, la u aucassins estoit.

v
                                Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 13v
 
XXXIX: Now it is sung.
AUCASSIN was at Beaucaire 

          'Neath the tower a morning fair.
On a stair he sat without,
With his brave lords round about;
Saw the leaves and flowers spring,
Heard the song-birds carolling;
Of his love he thought anew,
Nicolete the maiden true,
Whom he loved so long a day;
Then his tears and sighs had way.
When, behold, before the stair,
Nicolete herself stood there,
Lifted viol, lifted bow,
Then she told her story so:
`Listen, lordings brave, to me,
You who low or lofty be!
Like you to hear a stave,
All of Aucassin the brave,
And of Nicolete the true?
Long they loved and long did rue,
'Till into the deep forest
After her he went in quest.
From the tower of Torelore
Them one day the pagan bore,
And of him I know no more.
But the true-hearted Nicolete
Is in Carthage castle yet;
To her sire so dear is she,
Who is king of that country.
Desire they to her give
A felon king to be her lord.
Nicolete wants no pagan,
For she loves a slender lord,
Aucassin his name.
By God she vows that never
Will she ever take a baron,
Except her love once more 


     She longs for." 


[XXXIX]Or se cante. 
A BEAUCAIRE sous la tor 

         Estoit aucassins un jor,
L a se sist sor un perron,
E ntor lui si franc baron;
V oit les herbes et les flors
S 'oit canter les oisellons,
M enbre li de ses amors, [80.A]
D e nicholete le prox
Q u'il ot amee tans jors;
D ont jete souspirs et plors.
E s vous nichole au peron,
T rait vïele, trait arçon;
O r parla, dist sa raison.
E scoutés moi, franc baron,
C 'il d'aval et cil d'amont;
P lairoit vos oïr un son
D 'aucassin, un franc baron,
D e nicholete la prox?
T ant durerent lor amors
Q u'il le quist u gaut parfont;
A Torelore u dongon
L es prissent paiien un jor.
D 'aucassin rien ne savons,
M ais nicolete la prous
E st a Cartage el donjon,
C ar ses pere l'ainme mout
Q ui sire est de cel roion.
D oner il volent baron
U n roi de paiiens felon:
N icolete n'en a soing,
C ar ele aime un dansellon
Q ui aucassins avoit non;
B ien jure Diu et son non,
J a ne prendera baron,
S 'ele n'a son ameor 

Que  tant desire. 
v
           Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 19v
 
XL. Now they speak and they relate and they tell.

WHEN Aucassin heard Nicolete speak thus, he was very glad; and he took her on one side, and asked her, `Fair sweet friend', said Aucassin, `know you ought of this Nicolete, of whom who have sung here?' `Sir, yes! I know of her as the noblest creature and the gentlest and the wisest that ever was born. She is daughter of the king of Carthage, who took her when Aucassin was taken, and carried her to the city of Carthage, till he knew surely that she was his daughter, and made very great rejoicing over her. And every day they wish to give her for lord one of the greatest kings in all Spain. But she would rather let herself be hanged or burned than she would take any of them, were he ever so rich'. `Ah, fair sweet friend!' said the Count Aucassin, `if you would go back to that land, and would tell her to come and speak to me, I would give you of my wealth as much as you should dare to ask or take. And know, that for the love of her I will take no wife, be she of ever so high degree, but I wait for her; nor will I ever have any wife save her. And had I known where to find her, I should not now have had to seek her'. `Sir', said she, `if you would do this, I would go seek her, for your sake, and for hers, whom I love much'. He promised her; and then he had twenty pounds given to her. She took her leave of him; and he wept for the sweetness of Nicolete. And when she saw him weep, `Sir,' she said, `be not dismayed! For within a little while I shall have brought her to you in this town, so that you shall see her.' And when Aucassin heard it he was very glad. And she took her leave of him, and went her way into the town to the house of the Viscountess; for the Viscount her godfather was ded. She took up her lodging there, and spoke to her, till she revealed the matter to her, and the Viscountess recognised her, and knew surely that it was Nicolete, and that she had brought her up. And she made her be washed and bathed and sojourn there eight days in full; and she took a plant called `Esclaire', and smeared herself with it, and she was as beautiful as she had ever been at any time. And she clad herself in rich silk stuffs, of which the lady had good store, and she sat her down in the room on a quilted coverlet of cloth of silk, and called the lady, and told her to go for Aucassin her friend. And she did so. And when she came to the palace, she found Aucassin weeping and lamenting for Nicolete his friend, because she tarried so long. And the lady addressed him and said: `Aucassin, now make no more ado, but come away with me, and I will show you the thing you love most in the world; for it is Nicolete, your sweet friend, who is come from distant lands to seek you'. And Aucassin was glad.


[XL] Or dient et content et fabloient. 

QUANT aucassins oï ensi parler nicolete, il fu molt liés, si le traist d'une part, se li demanda: - Biax dous amis, fait aucassins, savés vos nient de cele nicolete dont vos avés ci canté? - Sire, oie, j'en sai con de le plus france creature et de le plus gentil et de le plus sage [80.B] qui onques fust nee; si est fille au roi de Cartage, qui le prist la u aucassins fur pris, si le mena en la cite de Cartage tant qu'il seut bien que c'estoit se fille, si en fist molt grant feste; si li veut on doner cascun jor baron un des plus haus rois de tote Espaigne; mais ele se lairoit ançois pendre u ardoir qu'ele en presist nul tant fust rices. - Ha! biax dox amis, fait li quens aucassins, se vous voliiés raler en cele terre, se li dississçiés qu'ele venist e mi parler, je vos donroie de mon avoir tant con vos en oseriés demander ne prendre. Et saciés que por l'amor de li ne voul je prendre fenme tant soit de haut parage, ains l'atenc, ne ja n'arai fenme se li non; et se je le seusce u trover, je ne l'eusce ore mie a querre. - Sire, fait ele, se vos çou faissiés, je l'iroie querre por vos et por li que je molt aim. Il li afie, et puis se li fait doner vint livres. Ele se part de lui, et il pleure por le douçor de nicolete; et quant ele le voit plorer: - Sire, fait ele, ne vos esmaiiés pas, que dusqu'a pou le vos arai en ceste vile amenee, se que vos le verrés. Et quant aucassins l'oï, si en fu molt liés. Et ele se part de lui, si traist en le vile a le maison le viscontesse, car li visquens ses parrins estoit mors. Ele se herberge la, si parla a li tant qu'ele li gehi son afaire et que le viscontesse le recounut et seut bien que c'estoit nicholete et qu'ele l'avoit norrie; si le fist [81.A] laver et baignier et sejorney uit jors tous plains. Si prist une herbe, qui avoit non esclaire, si s'en oinst, si fu ausi bele qu'ele avoit onques esté a nul jor; se se vesti de rices dras de soie, dont la dame avoit assés, si s'assist en le canbre sor une cueute pointe de drap de soie, si apela la dame et li dist qu'ele alast por aucassin son ami. Et ele si fist, et quant ele vint u palais, si trova aucassin qui ploroit et regretoit nicolete s'amie, por çou qu'ele demouroit tant; et la dame l'apela, si li dist: - aucassins, or ne vos dementés plus, mais venés ent aveuques mi et je vos mosterai la riens el mont que vos amés plus, car c'est nicolete vo duce amie, qui de longes terres vos est venue querre. Et aucassins fu liés.

v
                                    Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Detail, fol. 13v
 
XLI. Now it is sung. 
HOW when Aucassin did hear 

           Of his own bright-favoured maid,
That she had arrived on shore,
Glad he was as nev'er before.
Forth with that fair dame he made,
Nor until the hostel stayed.
Quickly to the room they win,
Where sat Nicolete within.
When she saw her love once more,
Glad she was as ne'er before.
Up she sprang upon her feet,
And went forward him to meet.
Soon as Aucassin beheld,
Both his arms to her he held,
Gently took her to his breast,
All her eyes and face caressed.
The night they lay side by side;
And the next day by morning
Aucassin married her;
Of Beaucaire he made her Dame.
After lived they many days,
And in pleasure went their ways.
Now has Aucassin his bliss,
And likewise Nicolete.
Ends our song and story so,


       No more I know.

[XLI] Or se cante. 
Q UANT or entent aucassins 

        De s'amie o le cler vis 
Q u'ele est venue el païs, 
O r fu liés, ain ne fu si. 
A veuc la dame s'est mis, 
D usqu'a l'ostel ne prist fin; 
E n le cambre se sont mist, 
L a u nicholete sist. 
Q uant ele voit son ami, 
O r fu lie, ainc ne fu si; 
C ontre lui en piés sali. 
Q uant or le voit aucassins, 
A ndex ses bras li tendi, [80v.B] 
D oucement le recoulli, 
L es eus li baisse et le vis. 
L a nuit le laissent ensi, 
T resqu'au demain par matin 
Q ue lespousa aucassins: 
D ame de biaucaire en fist; 
P uis vesquirent les mains dis 
E t menerent lor delis. 
O r a sa joie aucasins 
E t nicholete autresi: 
N o cantefable prent fin, 

    N'    en sai plus dire. 
v
 
 


Brunetto Latino, Li Livres dou Tresor, St Petersburg Manuscript, Female and male centaurs jousting, fol. 77


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