Sunday, June 5, 2011

Here is the text to the song by Cordier

French text
Belle, bonne, sage, plaisante et gente,
A ce jour cy que l'an se renouvelle,
Vous fais le don d'une chanson nouvelle
Dedans mon cuer qui a vous se presente.

De recevoir ce don ne soyés lente,
Je vous suppli, ma doulce damoyselle;

(Belle, bonne, sage...)
Car tant vous aim qu'aillours n'ay mon entente,
Et sy scay que vous estes seulle celle
Qui fame avés que chascun vous appelle:
Flour de beauté sur toutes excellente.

(Belle, bonne, sage...) 

English translation
Lovely, good, wise, gentle and noble one,
On this day that the year becomes new
I make you a gift of a new song
Within my heart, which presents itself to you.

Do not be reluctant to accept this gift,
I beg you, my sweet damsel;

(Lovely, good, wise...)
For I love you so well that I have no other purpose,
And know well that you alone are she
Who is famous for being called by all:
Flower of beauty, excellent above all others.

(Lovely, good, wise...)


RG said...

The image is not sharp enough to be confident of the transcription from old French, but there does seem to be something (easy to see) missing in the third line "Vous fais le don", probably should be "Je vous fais le don". It's more trouble thanone might think to own a blog, eh?

Bryan Townsend said...

I guess I'll find out! Re the missing "je", is it possible that it could be idiomatic to leave out an understood subject? Or that it was one too many syllables?

RG said...

Take a look at the image -- top right arch, last three words. The 14thC curliques look like "Le bous pais". I don't have my Capelli (Lexicon abbreviaturarum) at hand, but I am pretty sure that that "L" is a "J".

Bryan Townsend said...

Yes, you are right! I looked at the original and it is Le bous (or boue) fais or pais--the line of the staff makes it unclear. So "Le" was actually "Je"? How come? 14th century writing certainly is torturous, isn't it?

RG said...


The "le" (not "Je") is the final syllable of the previous word "renouvel_le". I suppose it is written separately to be near the music notation for its singing.

Excusez moi, svp.

Bryan Townsend said...

Yes, in French text underlay, they sing final syllables like '-le' that in ordinary spoken French would have been silent. So that syllable had to be aligned with the proper note, an 'A' in this case.