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Cortois and vilain; a study of the distinctions made between them by the French and Provencal poets of the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries online

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32162-6 :

E devon esser llramador

Ardit en gardar lor onor

Ab razo e ab drechura

Contra eels c'ap demezura

Lor fan mal o vilania.

A more usual adjective descriptive of one who lacks mesure is the
French outrageus. Chretien de Troies in Erec, vv. 240-1, employs
this adjective with znlains:

Le Chevalier arme dotoie,

Qui vilains est et outrageus.

L'Atre Perillous, vv. 5397-8, places the terms outrage and interne
in the same category as synonyms. V. 9685 of Perceval asso-
ciates the ideas of violence and vitenie.

Mention of the vilain's lack of mesure in specific ways is occa-
sionally met with. V. 12706 of Claris et Laris attributes envy to
the vilain. The vilain figures extensively as the jealous husband in
the chansons de toile. Bartsch, A. R. it. P. } i 48, v. 29:

vilain plain de jalosie.
Ibid., i 25, vv. 3-6:

Kant li vilains vaint a marchiet,

il n'i vait pas por berguignier,

mais por sa feme a esgaitier,

que nuns ne li forvoie. 1

There is, of course, another type of desmesure, that which ap-
pears in the Chanson de Roland and recalls the Homeric d/fyis.
It is clear that the kind of desmesure with which we are here con-
cerned is quite different from that which prompted Roland to refuse
to sound his horn and thus brought him to his tragic end. 2

VI.

THE CORTOIS IS HUMBLE; THE VILAIN IS UNDULY PROUD.
(a) THE CORTOIS IS HUMBLE.

De Courtoisie, vv. 19-22, 35-6, directs those who would be
cortois to forsake pride and learn to be humble :

*See also ibid., i 48, vv. 17-19; i 67, vv. 3-6 and 17.

2 Cf. Gaston Paris, Extraits de la Chanson de Roland, note 26 on p. 75.



3 2 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

Mes James a vostre voil

Ne vous lessetz veintre orgoil !

Cil q'est orgoillous,

II quide tantost crestre tous,



Lessetz cele vice ester,

Si apernetz cle vous humilier!

Vv. 172-7 of De Courtoisie advise against self-praise. Vv. 955-9
of L'Atre Perillons refer to a cortois knight who in spite of his
excellence was not over-proud :

Bien doit tout le monde plorer,

Car el monde n'avoit son per

De largesce et de cortoisie,

Et por sa grant cevalerie

N'astoit il nient plus orgellox.

The Breinari d'Anior, vv. 30971-6, implies the humility of the
cortois when it says that it is greater cortezia for one's praise to
be spread abroad by another than by oneself. Vv. 32312-3 of the
Breviari d'Amor state that humility exalts the humble and the
cortois, i.e. makes them more cortois. V. 19 of the fablel De la
Bourgeoise d'Orliens, Fabliaux i 8, states that a certain clerc had
the reputation of being a very cortois .fellow, and the first words
of v. 20 give as one reason that he N'ert plains d'orguel. N'Uc
Brunet de Rodes, quoted in the Breinari d'Amor, v. 31681, asso-
ciates humility with cortoisie in the injunction, Sias humils e cortes.
The Roman de la Rose ii p. 254 furnishes another example of
such association :

Quiconques tent a gentillece,

Humble cuer ait, cortois et gent.

On the other hand, vv. 11126-32 of Perceval, referring to Gawain,
are evidence that cortoisie did not preclude a proper pride when
dealing with the haughty :

Et pour chou si croissoit ses pris,

Moult cremoit toustans vilonie,

Vers home plain de felonie

Et renconier et orguellous

Estoit moult fiers et coragous ;

Envers frans homes, pius et dous;

Centre orguelleus, fiers et estous.



CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 33

(b) THE VILAIN IS UNDULY PROUD.

In v. 30974 of the Breviari d'Amor, referred to above, the word
vilania is used in the sense of vanity, vain pride. Of indirect evi-
dence I can quote two examples. V. 3130 of the following passage
from L'Atre Perillous (vv. 3126-31) associates haughtiness with
vilenie :

Et la damoisele me dist

Moult doucement au departir,

Ke se je voloie joir

De li, ne de sa druerie,

Oue d'orguel et de vilonnie

Me gardaisce et de sorfait.
V. 4847 of L'Atre Perillous presents the same association :

N'a orguel ni a vilonie.



VII.

THE CORTOIS IS CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS, IS KIND AND HOSPITABLE;
THE VILAIN IS NOT CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS, IS CRUEL AND
INHOSPITABLE.

(a) THE CORTOIS IS CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS, IS KIND AND

HOSPITABLE.

Vv. 1847-8 of Erec tell how the cortois knight considerately
thought of his host:

Erec come cortois et frans

Fu de son povre oste an espans.

Vv. 6198-6206 of the same poem narrate a considerate act on the
part of Enide:

Mout fist Enide que cortoise :

Por ce que pansive la vit

Et sole seoir sor le lit,

Li prist talanz que ele iroit

A li parler, si li diroit

De son afeire et de son estre,

Et anquerroit, s'il pooit estre,

Qu'ele del suen li redeist,

Mes que trop ne li desseist.

Vv. 3060-3 of Yvain tell how the maiden who has anointed Yvain
and thus restored him to his senses was careful not to startle hirn
in his bewildered condition by revealing her identity. This con-



34 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

sideration is termed by Chretien son et corteisie. Vv. 9325-33 of
Perceval speak of an act of consideration on the part of Gawain's
hostess, whose thoughtfulness is that of one qui n'est pas wyde de
courtoisie ne de sens :

Et dist : "Ma dame vos envoie

A viestir, ains qu' ele vos voie,

Ceste reube, car ele quide

Come cele qui n'est pas wyde

De courtoisie ne de sens,

Que grans travaus et grans ahens

Et grans anuis eus aves ;

Assayes-le, si le vestes,

S'ele est boine a vostre mesure.

Vv. 7560-8 of Flamenca describe the quiet manner in which
En Archimbautz entered the room where his guests were assembled.
"And this," the author states, "he did through cortesia, being un-
willing that the whole court should rise every time he came in or
went out." Le Roman de la Rose, i p. 26, tells how Cortoisie sees
the Lover standing near and invites him to join the dance:

"Biaus amis, que faites-vous la?

Fait Cortoisie, ga venez,

Et avecques nous vous prenez

A la karole, s'il vous plest."

The Lover's gratitude to Cortoisie for her act oi consideration is
thus expressed (loc. cit.) :

Et sachies que moult m'agrea

Quant Cortoisie m'en pria,

Et me dist que je karolasse ;

Car de karoler, se j'osasse,

Estoie envieus et sorpris.

The fablel Le Frere Denise relates how a maiden has been duped
by a Franciscan and taken into his order (hence the title), but is
rescued by a lady, who gives her some of her own fine clothes and
arranges a match between her and a knight. Vv. 308-313 (Fab-
liaux iii 87) tell how unobtrusively, and therefore cortoisement,
she accomplishes her act of kindness :

Ele meismes de sa main

La vest, ansois qu'ele couchast,



CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 35

Ne soffrist qu'autres i touchast,
Car priveement voloit faire
Et cortoisement son afaire;
Car sage dame et cortoize ere.

The maiden who took her mantle and groomed Perceval's horse
is termed f ranee et cortoise for her kindness ; Perceval, w. 33998-

,34005 :

La damoisele plus ne dist,

Ains est alee, sans targier,

Jusques devant le bon diestrier

Qui atacies< ert a 1'aniel ;

Si le commence, a son mantiel,

A planiier et col et tieste,

Si li fait mervellouse fieste,

Que elle estoit france et cortoise.

A special kind of consideration is cortois hospitality, mentioned
often in mediaeval texts. In vv. 985-8 of Thebes we read that King
Adrastus, "who was not vHains in the least," showed his hospitality
to his guests, Polynices and Tydeiis, by allowing them to converse
with his beautiful daughters :

Ne fu mie vilains li reis :

De ses filles ne fist defeis

Que n'i parolent li danzel ;

Pas ne Ten peise, ainz Ten est bel.

In vv. 561-9 of Yvain, Calogrenant tells how he returned to his
hostel, the fortress in which he had been received as a guest the
night before, and in spite of the fact that he had been vanquished
in a fight and was coming back without horse and without armor
-his cortois host received him as hospitably as before :

Quant je ving la nuit a 1'ostel,

Trovai mon oste tot autel.

Aussi lie et aussi cortois,

Come j'avoie fet eingois.

Onques de rien ne m'apargui

Ne de sa fille ne de lui

Que mains volantiers me veissent

Ne que mains d'enor me feissent

Qu'il avoient fet 1'autre nuit.



36 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

In vv. 4593-8 of Yvain the speaker tells Yvain that no cortoise lady
would refuse hospitality to a man of his worth unless he had done
her great wrong:

"Certes," fet ele, "ce me poise.

Ne taing mie por tres cortoise

La dame qui mal cuer vos porte.

Ne deiist pas veer sa porte

A chevalier de vostre pris

Se trop n'eiist vers li mespris."

In vv. 2762-7 of Perceval we read that Perceval's cortois hosts
urge upon him their hospitality for a month or a year :

Quant leve furent de la table,

Li preudom, ki moult fu cortois,

Pria de remanoir . i . mois

Le varlet ki deles lui sist ;

. i . an tout plain, se il vosist,

Le retenist-il volentiers.

From vv. 3279-87 of Perceval we may infer that it was looked upon
as an act of cortoifie to speed the departing guest :

Vous en ires, pas ne m'en poise,

Que ne seroie pas cortoise

S'il me pesoit de nule rien ;

Que poi d'onor et poi de bien

Nos vos avommes c.aiens fait ;

Et je pri Dieu que il vous ait

Aparellie mellor ostel,

U plus ait pain et vin et sel

Et autre bien que en cestui. 1



(b) THE VILAIN IS NOT CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS, IS CRUEL AND

INHOSPITABLE.

A lack of consideration for others on the part of the vilain is
implied in vv. 442-7 of Du mantel mautaillie, Fabliaux iii 55 :

Additional passages illustrating the hospitality of the cortois are as
follows: Le Bel Inconnu, vv. 4032-8; Le Chevalier a 'lpee, vv. 134-142;
Perceval, vv. 2727-30, 2743-52, 7102-5, 28955-9, 28970-5, 36527-31, 36649-54;
Blancandin, vv. 1227-30.



CORTO1S AND VILAIN. 37

"Sire," fet il, "il m'est avis

Que nous sommes tuit molt vilain ;

L'amie mon seignor Gavain,

Venelaus la preus, la cortoise,

A men seignor Gavain en poise

De ce que trop est oubliee."

In vv. 492-6 of Tristan, ii p. 24, the Celtic hero is represented as
thinking that he is acting vileinement, i.e. as a vilain would, in
departing without finding out what has become of Queen Ysolt
and Brengien:

Tristan se prent a purpenser

Que il s'en vait vileinement

Quant ne set ne quar ne coment

A la reine Ysolt estoit

Ne que Brengien la fraunche fait.

Vv. 1523-32 of Guillaume d'Angleterre relate how li vilains (cf.
v. 1519) unconsciously does an act of kindness, but the poet denies
him credit for it, saying that his intentions were bad :

Et neporquant de tant bien fist,

Sanz ce que garde ne s'an prist

N'a bien feire n'i antandi,

Que a 1'anfant le pan randi,

Ou anvelope le trova.

Einsi bien et mal se prova:

Mai fist selonc s'antangion,

Qu'il n'i antandi se mal non,

Et bien por ce qu'a 1'anfant plot;

Einsi fist bien et si nel sot.

The cruelty of the vilain is often insisted upon by the mediaeval
poets. Thebes dwells upon this characteristic in vv. 5563-9 :

Mais li sergent sor lui s'a'irent,

De totes parz fort le detirent :

Entre vilains fait mal chaeir;

De rien qu'il puissent sorpoeir

N'avront ja merci li vilain.

Le chevalier ne pristrent sain :

Piece a piece le detrenchierent.

Guillaume d'Angleterre in two passages gives instances of the
vilain 's lack of humanity. Vv. 1466-77:



38 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

Einsi li anfant anbedui

Se deffandent, et li vilain,

Qui mout se travaillent an vain,

A terre anbedeus les abatent

Et des poinz et des piez les batent

Chascuns le suen a son ostel.

Ains li anfant ne furent tel

Que breire osassent ne crier.

L/an ne se doit mie fier

An vilain, puis que il s'aorse.

Ne plus que an ors ou an orse :

Vilains iriez est vis maufez.
Ibid., vv. 1494-7:

Quant Marins 6i le reproche,

Grant honte an ot et grant angoisse.

Et li vilains le bat et roisse

Come fel et de put afreire.

In vv. 17985-9 of Perceval the speaker refers to the killing of inno-
cent children as vilonie:

Lors a dist : "Sire Brandelis,

Moult est biaus cis enfes petis,

Onques mais si grant vilonie

Ne fesistes en vostre vie

De si tres biel enfant tuer. 1

Parallels of this usage of the old French poets are found in the
works of Dante, who in three passages in the Vita Nuova refers
to death as villana because of its cruelty. Cap. viii 21-22:

perche villana morte in gentil core

ha messo il suo crudele adoperare.
Cap. viii 39-42:

Morte villana, di pieta nemica,

di dolor madre antica,

giudicio incontrastabile, gravoso,

poi che hai data matera al cor doglioso.

Cap. xxiii 52-53 : Dolcissima morte, vieni a ine, e non m'essere
villana; in this case the grounds for calling death cruel are the

1 See also Marie de France, Lais, Laustic, vv. 114-6; Perceval, vv. 6820-4;
Tristan, i p. 45; Claris, vv. 14023-7; Bartsch, A. R. u. P., iii 34, vv. 19-25.



CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 39

opposite of those in the two preceding examples. Giacomino Pul-
gliese addresses death in a similar manner. D'Ancona e Comparetti,
Antiche Rime, i p. 379:

Villana Morte, che non a' pietanza,

Disparti Amore e tolgli 1'alegranza,

E dai cordolglio.

The inhospitality of the vilam is implied in the use of the ad-
jective vilains in a passage in Perceval, vv. 16531-7 :

"Par trestous sains, QOU a dit Kex,

Voire, mais ausi m'ait Dex,

II ne tient pas . iii . nois de nous ;

C'est .i. chevaliers orguellous

Qui ne nous herbergera mie

Pour nule rien que on li die."

Li rois dist : "Dont est moult vilains ; . . . '

A similar inference may be drawn from vv. 5632-5 of L'Escoufle,
in which the chatelaine of Montpellier regrets her lack of hospitality
to Aelis and Ysabiaus :

Fait la dame: "Mout ai este

Vers vos vilaine et desseiie,

Ki pres de mod vos ai seiie,

Et si ne vos ai acointie . . . '

The lack of proper care for and protection of a guest is termed
vilenie in L'Atre Perillous, vv. 3982-4:

Et ce sera grans vilenie,

Quant je sui ci en vostre garde,

Se g'i muir par vostre mesgarde.

The vilain's lack of regard for the laws of hospitality is shown in
vv. 17076-81 of Perceval, where ungracious refusal of proffered
entertainment is implied on his part :

Mais n'est pas si vilains, je croi,

Qu'il s'en alast tant que mi frere

Fuscent venu et li miens pere ;

Car, s'il estoient repairie,

II Taroient tost herbergie;

Car plains sont de toutes bontes.



40 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

VIII.

THE CORTOIS IS ALWAYS READY TO HELP OTHERS; THE VILAIN
REFUSES TO HELP OTHERS.

(a) THE CORTOIS IS ALWAYS READY TO HELP OTHERS.

The quality of helpfulness in the cortois is defined in the Roman
de la Rose, i p. 107, as giving assistance to one who is in less fortu-
nate circumstances than oneself:

Cortoisie est que 1'en sequeure
Celi dont Ten est au desseure.

An illustration of this definition is found in the same poem, i p. 91,
where the speaker tells how Bel-Acueil, the son of Cortoisie, allows
him to pass the hedge into the garden where grows the coveted rose :

Bel-Acueil se faisoit clamer,

Filz fu Cortoisie la sage,

Cis m'abandonna le passage

De la haie moult doucement,

Et me dist amiablement :

"Baius amis chiers, se il vous plest,

Passes la haie sans arrest."

Ibid., i p. 137, the act just mentioned is referred to as grant cor-
toisie. Esperance is termed cortoise, ibid., i p. 86, because she
sustains even a thief until the end. In vv. 2279-2281 of Thebes
we are told that Tydeus brought certain persons to her que pas riert
vilain-e (i.e., ert cortoise), and the reason she is thus characterized
is given in the words (v. 2281), Que por eus s'ert tant traveilliee.
In vv. 6504-9 of Lancelot the hero complains that the absent Gawain
lacks cortoisie because he is not there to help him. Vv. 5430-4 of
Yvain speak of the readiness to serve shown by a cortoise maiden :

De lui servir tant s'antremet
Qu'il an a honte et si Tan poise.
Mes la pucele est tant cortoise
Et tant franche et tant deboneire
Qu' ancor an cuide ele po feire. 1

1 See also Marie de France, Lais, Guigemar, vv. 460-4; L'Atre Perillous,
vv. 5363-71; ibid., vv. 6320-31; Flcnnenca, vv. 2025-6; Hugues Capet, vv.
334^-3.



CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 41

(b) THE VILAIN REFUSES TO HELP OTHERS.

The cortois man was ever ready to offer his services when they
were needed by another, but the vilain is represented by the mediaeval
poets as refusing his aid to others. Thus the Roman dc la Rose, i
p. 68, characterizes the vilain as without pity and unwilling to be
of service to his friends :

Vilains est fel et sans pitie,

Sans servise et sans amitie.

Another passage in the Roman de la Rose (i p. 40) states that
Franchise was so gentle-hearted that she would think she was com-
mitting an act of great vilonie (i.e. the act of a vilaine) is she were
not to aid one who came to grief on her account. Vv. 3878-81 of
L'Atre Perillous term a knight vilain who would not aid another
in his time of need:

Moult est le chevalier vilain

Et outragex, qui autre voit

D'amor de si tres grant destroit,

Si nel secort a grant besoing.

Vv. 44-48 of the fablel De Guillaume au faucon, Fabl. ii 35, charac-
terize as vileine a woman who would not grant her distressed lover
solace. Flamenco, vv. 5347-9, states that no cortois man would
leave a girl to her fate without assisting her :

Tort n'auran, si cortes s'en feinon,

Caital dompna paura estraina

Laisson murir.



IX.

THE CORTOIS IS GOOD, JUST, LOYAL; THE VILAIN IS BAD, UNJUST.
UNTRUSTWORTHY.

(a) THE CORTOIS IS GOOD, JUST, LOYAL.

The code of ethics of the cortois as portrayed in mediaeval French
and Provengal poetry is a much higher one than that of the vilain,
although it is not an altogether rigid one. The didactic poem De
Courtoisic instructs those who would be cortois to do good; v. 90:

Lessetz las mauls, fetes le bien.

The association of doing good with cortoisie is met in vv. 11394-5
of Perceval, where it is said that King Arthur loved cortoisie as



42 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

no one else did, and also applied his heart to good. Giraud le Roux,
Rayn. Choix iii, p. 10, associates cortezia with fear of evil :

Ara sabrai s'a ges de cortezia

En vos, dona, ni si temetz peccat.

Jacques de Cambrai, Wackernagel p. 68, associates all good qualities
with cortoisie:

Dame, tous biens et toute cortoisie

est dedens vos *

The justice and upright dealing of the cortois are the theme of
certain other passages. In vv. 5954-8 of Yvain a maiden says that
her sister would be doing cortoisie if she were to restore the property
out of which she had defrauded her :

Or feroit corteisie et bien

Ma dame, ma tres chiere suer,

Que j'aim autant come mon cuer,

S'ele de mon droit me leissoit

Tant qu'antre moi et li pes soit.

In vv. 25488-91 of Perceval, Perceval's opponent calls him cortois
for having thrown his own sword to the ground as soon as he saw
that his adversary was disarmed and suggesting that they finish the
combat with their fists :

Li chevaliers dist: "J e ne sai

Se got! est savoirs u folie,

Que vostre espee aves guerpie ;

Mais moult estes preus et cortois.

Observance of that law of fair combat which prescribed that the
arms of both contestants should be equal is termed cortoisie in Le
Chevalier a I'Epee, vv. 928-933. Gawain, addressing a knight who
has attacked him, says :

Vos veez mout bien que je n'ai

Fors sol ma lance et mon escu

Et lou branc au coste pendu.

Je vos conment a desarmer

Tant que nos soions per a per,

Si ferez mout grant cortoisie.

*A similar association of ideas is found in the following passages : Le
Breviari d'Amor, vv. 29559-60; Bertrand d'Allamanon ler, Rayn. Choix v,.
p. 71 ; Flamenca, v. 6483 ; Cliges, vv. 5855-7.



;.

CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 43

From vv. 3356-7 of LAtre Perillous we infer that the cortois keeps
his plighted word:

Ains li tenes son convenant;

Si feres bien et que cortois.

To render another what belongs to him by the laws of chivalry is
cortoisie. Blancandin, vv. 304-5, 309-10:

Ele est au chevalier amie

Que j'ai c.a derriere laissie.

Frans chevaliers, par cortoisie

Rendes au chevalier s'amie.

Less direct evidence to the same effect is found in passages in
which the ideas of cortoisie and justice, fairness, are associated. In
vv. 41135-6 of Perceval the adjective vrai is used with cortois:

A li respont : "Sire, ami ai,

Preu et cortois et sage et vrai, . . . '

V. 3181 of LAtre Perillous associates the adjective honerable with
cortois :

D'estre cortois et honerable. 1

The loyalty of the cortois is implied in vv. 4084-5 of LAtre
Perillous, where cortoisie and loiaute are associated :

On aime le cors quant u cuer

A cortoisie et loiaute.
A similar association of ideas is met in Lancelot, vv. 3354-5 :

Mout me troveroiz deboneire

Vers vos et leal et cortois.

A practical instance of loyalty on the part of a cortois person is
found in the Romans de un ckivaler, etc., Fabliaux ii 50, vv. 262-9,
where a maid is represented as conveying a message of love from
a clerc to her mistress, although in doing so she is performing a
service for her successful, if unwitting, rival in his affections :

Or saveit ele bien de veir

Ke failli avoit de sun espeir,



and cortoisie are associated also in the following passages: L'Atre
Perillous, v. 5964; Perceval, vv. 41131-3; Blancandin, vv. 2644-6; Du Bouchier
d'Abeville, Fabliaux iii 84, vv. 142-3; Lamberti de Bonanel, ou de Buvarel,
Rayn. Choix v, p. 243 ; Marie de France, Lais, Milun, v. 332.



44 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

Mes tant fist ele de corteisie

Ke son message ne cela mie.

Dist a la dame le grant dolur

Ke li clerk suffri pur s'amur ;

Requist k'ele eust de li pite,

Alast le ver, pur 1'amur De.

Three passages form exceptions to the general rule for the up-
rightness of the cortois. Chretien de Troies in Erec, vv. 3642-3,
implies that a lady may be cortoise and at the same time deceitful:

Mout est preuz et sage et cortoise

La dame qui deceii m'a.

An implication of similar nature is found in two verses by Guillaume
de Saint-Didier, Rayn. Ckoix iii, p. 300:

Ab son cuiar, o ab mentir cortes

Me tengra quay tos temps, s'a lieys plagues.

Vv. 717-22, 737-8 of La Clef d' Amors indicate that its author did
not consider the fulfilment of a cortois promise necessary:

Pramet li assez de pramesses,

grosses et grandes et espesses :

de bone hore fu mis a letre

qui cortoisement soit prametre.

Assez prametre petit grieve,

et si sort le courage et lieve.

Mes, quelz pramesses que tu faches,
garde bien que ne les perfaches.

(b) THE VILAIN IS BAD, UNJUST, UNTRUSTWORTHY.

Although the blemish of untruthfulness was permitted in the
cortois, his genera! character was infinitely above that of the vilain
as portrayed by the mediaeval poets. The vilairis thoroughly evil
reputation in courtly circles is attested by v. 165 of Le Lai de
rOiselet :

Et li vilain sont li mauvais,
and by Bartsch, A. R. u. P., i. 48, vv. 15-16:

james n'amera vilain,

car trop sont mauves.

In vv. 6771-5 of Flamenca, mals aips (evil character) is put in the
same category with inlania, and is opposed to cortesia:



CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 45

De sempre li a tot comdat

Flamenca, con es avengut

D'En Archimbaut ques a perdut

Sos mals aips e sa vilania

Et a cobrada cortesia. 1

A tendency on the part of the vilain to break his word is implied
in three passages in which failure to keep a promise is termed
vilenie; vv. 2209-10 of Perceval, giving King Arthur's words :

Vilonie est d'autrui gaber

Et de prometre sans doner;
De Courtoisie, vv. 150-5:

E pur deu gardetz vous ent bien,

Ke vous ne promettez rien,

Si vous ne voilletz doner;

Kar ceo fet le fol conforter !

Et ore ne lerra, ke nel vous die,

Certes ceo est grant vileinie;

Le Chevalier a l f pee, vv. 1074-5, quoting Gawain's words to a
knight who has broken his word :

Et Gauvains dist : "C'est vilenie

Se vos en desdites ensi.

Vv. 6768-9 of Yvain refer to parjurer as vilainne chose. The ideas
of deception and vilenie are associated in v. 28777 f Le Breviari
d'Amor :

O enguan o vilania.
A similar association of ideas is found in Erec, vv. 1793-5:

Je sui rois, ne doi pas mantir,

Ne vilenie consantir,

Ne faussete ne desmesure.

Bernard de Ventadour, Rayn. Clioix iii, p. 75, declares that cortezia
is vilana in that it may give a false appearance of friendship:

Cortezia es mout vilana,

Quar aquesta falsa gens vana

Fai conoisser semblansa d'amistatz.

The injustice of the vilain is implied in the following cases.
Vv. 2617-20 of Blancandin represent the hero of the poem as re-

^ee also Erec, v. 2422; Fabliaux v 137, vv. 194-7; Doctrinal le Sauvage,
strophe 57.



4 6 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

gretting his lost love, Orgilleuse, and inveighing against the injustice


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