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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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que d'un plazen ris me socor

ades quan me ve, per amor.



CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 61

In vv. 2602-5 of L'Atre Perillous a lady speaks of a cortois knight
who was her lover:

Sire, fait ele, uns chevaliers

Biax et prox et cortois et sage,

Ki m'amena en cest boscage,

M'amoit par amors et je.lui.

In vv. 12-14 of a past our elle, Bartsch, A. R. u. P., ii 2, the speaker
is represented as asking Bone-Amor, Sen and Cortoisie what true
lovers are doing. They reply, Li cortois, li lairge vont maix a
noient, thus defining lovers as the cortois and the generous. However,
the lay of Guigemar, M. de France, vv. 487-492, takes exception to
the steadfastness in love of certain curteis, whom she accordingly
terms vilain :

Plusur le tienent a gabeis,

si cume cil vilain curteis,

ki jolivent par tut le mund,

puis se vantent de ceo que funt.

N'est pas amurs, einz est folie

e malvaistiez e lecherie.

Not only did the cortois possess those qualities which made him
the lover par excellence, but it was his duty to love. Thus De
Courtoisie, which contains the code of cortoisie, directs those who
would be cortois to love ; vv. 1 14-5 :

Si voil, qe vous ametz par amurs ;

Ke vous en serrez le plus prus.

Le Breviari d' Amor, vv. 27916-8, referring to the troubadour Mira-
val's discussion of love in his poems, says :

Amar vole done le cavaliers

Et estar ves amors entiers

Cum savis e pros e cortes.

Marie de France, Lais, Equitan, vv. 83-86, speaks of the uselessness
of cortoisie without love :

Si bele dame tant mar fust

s'ele n'amast u dru n'eiist!

Que devendreit sa curteisie,

s'ele n'amast de druerie?

The cortois should accept proffered love, as well. Marie de
France, Lais, Eliduc, vv. 393-6, represents Guilliadun as meditating



62 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

after having sent the message of love to Eliduc with her ring. She
says :

Unkes mes ne parlai fors ier

e or le faz d'amer preier,

ieo quid que il me blasmera ;

s'il est curteis, gre me savra.

Less direct evidence of the part played by love in cortoisie is
found in certain passages where the two ideas are closely associated.
Le Breviari d'Amor, vv. 29898 and 29931 :

Don dis 1'amoros el cortes.

Cf. Flamenco-, vv. 7649-53.

Love is represented as having the power to make a man cortois.
L'Atre Perillous, vv. 3058-60 :

Hardi me fist comme lion

Amors que en ses las me mist;

Cortois et enprenant me fist. 1

Andre le Chapelain grants the truth of this doctrine in De Amore,
p. 160, where he says : Quamvis igitur amor cogat omnes curialcs
exsistere. . . .

(b) THE VILAIN IS IGNORANT OF COURTLY LOVE.

We have noticed above the passage in which the God of Love
is spoken of as cortois. In a similar passage we find Bone Amor
referred to in synonymous terms as ne pas vilaine; La Chastclaine dc
Saint Gille, Fabliaux i n, vv. 284-6. In the Roman de la Rose,
i p. 68, the God of Love directs that interne be forsaken, on pain
of his displeasure, and all those who love vilenie, for
Vilonnie fait li vilains,
Por ce n'est pas drois que ge 1'ains.

The vilain, being outside the pale of courtly love, could not be
expected to comprehend the art of love. So Guilhem, comte de
Peitieu, Appel, Prov. Chrest., St. 59, vv. 1-5, says that he who does
not understand his love song, and learn it by heart, should be
considered a znlain :



^ee, for additional statements to the same effect: Blancandin, vv.
1 389-9 1 ; Pens de Capdueil, Rayn. Choix iii, p. 175; Guillaume de Cabestaing,
ibid., iii, p. in.



CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 63

Companho, faray un vers covinen,

et aura i mais de foudatz, no y a de sen,

et er totz mesclatz d'amor e de ioy e de ioven.

E tenguatz lo per vilan, qui no 1'enten

o dins son cor voluntiers non 1'apren.

The author of La Clef d' Amors, defining the purpose of his book
to be that of exposing the science of love, tells the vilains, vv. 173-
180, not to touch it, for they would but waste their time in consulting
it:

Or ne le vienge nul aprendre

s'il n'a cuer amoureus et tend re :

traient soy en sus les gelous

as cuers felons et cavelous

et les vilains et les vilaines.

Telz gens i perdroient lor paines ;

quer a eulz n'apartient il mie

a savoir d'amer la mestrie.

And since the vilain was ignorant of the science of love, it would
be useless to talk to him of it. De Florance et de Blanche Flor,
vv. 9-11 :

A vileins ne a venteors

Ne doit-on pas parler d'amors :

Mais a clers ou a chevaliers.

This ignorance in matters of love is alluded to in two passages in
pastourelles. Bartsch, A. R. u. P., iii 46, vv. 70-71 :

ostez, savroit done vilains amer?

nenil voir.
Ibid., ii 23, vv. 20-22 :

si laissiez eel vilain sot,

dorenlot, c'ainz ne vos sot

bien amer ne faire joie. 1

The vilain, being ignorant in matters of love, failed to recognize
the evidences of it in another. Thus neas, in Eneas, vv. 9031-7,
regrets that he did not recognize the fact that Lavinia loved him,
and calls himself "vilain in love" :

Coarse variations of the same theme are found as follows: Bartsch,
A. R. u. P., i 69; Fabliaux iv 105, vv. 1-5; Bartsch, A. R. u. P., iii 35, vv.
19-20.



64 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

Bien puis saveir des 1'altre jor,

que primes fui desoz la tor,

a ce que tant me reguardot,

de si buen oil, qu'ele m'aniot ;

des i done m'en aperceiisse,

se ge d'amer vilains ne fusse ;

ne saveie que ce esteit.

The vilain was also denied the enjoyment of love. Flamenca, vv.
6014-6016 :

Mais amoretas son corals

Don non gostan vilan ne fals

Domnejador outracujat.

Beauty was not for the vilain's touch. Bartsch, A. R. u. P., ii 60,
vv. 25-28:

Damage seroit, pastourele,

se vilains touce a ton menton.

quels ieus, quel bouce et qel mascele !

bien aferroit a un baron.

However, far from seeking love, the vilain is constantly repre-
sented as rejecting it. I lie et Galeron, vv. 3923-4:

Mais or est si que gent vilaine

Ont amours toute refusee.
Bartsch, A. R. u. P., iii 9, vv. 33-35 :

Quant Toi si escondire de s'amor

erranment li pris a dire par iror

'touse n'iere mais cortois. . . . '
Ibid., ii 46, vv. 33-35 :

Sire, a vous m'otroie:

trop vilainne seroie

se vos aloie refuzant.

In Amadas et Ydoine, vv. 1130-7, a girl laments her lover, who has
died on account of her refusal of him, in the words :

Fille de roi, ne de ro'ine,
S'il la daignast amer d'amour,
N'eiist de lui mult grant honnour.
Trop li ai este fiere et dure,
Et orgilleuse a desmesure ;
S'ai fait que folle et que dervee
Et que vilaine sourquidee,
Que non sachans et ke caitive !



CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 65

Cadenet, Rayn. Choix iii, p. 253, says that it would be vilania, i.e.
the act of a vilaine, for a girl to send her lover away before the
dawn:

Quar seria

Desconoissens vilania

Qui s partria malamen

Son amic valen

De si, tro en 1'alba.

Chretien de Troies, in Erec, vv. 1832-4, declares it to be the act of
a vilaine to object to being kissed:

La pucele ne fu pas fole,

Bien vost que li rois la beisast ;

Vilainne fust s'il Tan pesast.

To refuse to bestow a kiss is characterized in the Roman de la Rose,
i p. 113, as the act of a vilaine:

II n'est dame ne chastelaine

Que ge ne tenisse a vilaine,

S'ele n'el daignoit aesier

D'avoir un savoreux besier.

To scorn one's lover is defined by Bernard de Ventadour, Rayn.
Choix iii, pp. 76-77, as the act of a vilaine :

Mas d'aisso fai trop que vilana

Ma domna, quar aissi m soana ;

Quar de 1'affan no mi val amistatz,

Per qu'ieu disses que mielhs sui sos privatz.

Li Fablel dou Dieu d' Amours, p. 17, mentions the vilain's rejection
of love :

Loussignos sire, bien fust drois et mesure,

Que ja vilains d'amiste n'eust cure.

Car se il aimme en aucune mesure,

N'est pas por li, ains est par aventure.

La Clef d } Amors, vv. 261-8, upbraids as vilaines all women who do
not yield their love in response to the prayers of their lovers:

Toutes fames tien a vilaines

qui font perdre as amans lors paines

et qui refusent et desdient

ceulz qui sanz faintise les prient.

Vilaines sont il voirement ;

je le te preuve clerement:



66 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

cele est vilaine a qui Ten donne
s'amour, s'el ne le guerredonne.

Le Chevalier a I'Epee, vv. 321-3, characterizes as vilaine a woman
who would awaken a man's love and leave it unsatisfied :

Bien set qu'el feist que vilainne
S'el lou meist d'amors en painne
Don il ne traissist ja a chief.

Vv. 855-861 of Cliges represent the speaker as referring to his lady
as an arrow which has pierced him. He continues :

Par foi, c'est li maus qui me tue,
Ce est li darz, ce est li reis,
Don trop vilainemant m'ireis.
Mout sui vilains, qui m'an corroz.

The vilain speaks ill of love. Li Fablel dou Dieu d j amours, p. 17:

Sire, fait-il, che font villaine gent,
Cil qui mesdient d'amors a escient;
Se cortois fussent nel fesissent noient.

In Perceval, vv. 10316-22, a lady laments for her lover whose death
has rendered her vilaine, i. e. deprived of love.

It is a significant fact that none of the French passages quoted
above as bearing upon the relation of the system of courtly love to
cortoisie occurs in a text written before about the year 1165, the
earliest ones that we can date being those taken from Eneas and
Ille et Galeron, while the Provencal examples begin with Guilhem,
Comte de Peitieu (d. 1127). This we would expect from the fact
that the ideas of the more artificial Provengal society first penetrated
generally into the North with Eleanor of Poitou. They seem, how-
ever, not to have had a far-reaching effect in French literature until
the time of her daughter, Mary of Champagne, whose influence
Chretien de Troies acknowledges in the first verses of Lancelot.
We are obliged, therefore, to exclude gallantry from our definition
of cortoisie as used by French poets writing much before Chretien.



CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 67

XIV.

THE CORTOIS MAY OR MAY NOT INDULGE IN GUILTY PHYSICAL LOVE;
THE VILAIN INDULGES IN GUILTY PHYSICAL LOVE.

While considering the same general subject of love we must
notice an extensive class of exceptions to the general rule for the
titter separation of vilain and cortois in character and actions as
they appear in the works of the poets of mediaeval France, for we
find upon examination of those passages which deal with physical
love unsanctioned by the marriage rite that the cortois is culpable
as well as the vilain. However, there are passages in which the
cortois is represented as abstaining from indulgence in this vice,
and in this confusion we have but another manifestation of the
conflict between the chivalric ideals set forth by the poets of the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries and actual social conditions at
that period. That these ideals forbade criminal intimacy between
the sexes is shown by Andre le Chapelain, De Amore, p. 182 : Et
purus quidem amor est, qui omnimoda dilectionis affectionc duorum
amantium corda coniungit. Hie autem in mentis contemplations
cordisque consistit affectu; procedit autem usque ad oris osculum
lacertique ample.vum et verecundum amantis nudae contactum, ex-
tremo praetermisso solatia; nam illud pure amare volcntibus exer-
cere non licet.

(a) THE CORTOIS MAY OR MAY NOT INDULGE IN GUILTY PHYSICAL

LOVE.

The passages in which the cortois is represented as rejecting
guilty physical love are not many, and, strange to say, most of
them are found in the fabliaux. In vv. 10-11, 15, 18-20, of De
Constant du Hamel } Fabliaux iv 106, we are told how Lady
Ysabiau, Qui mout estoit cortois c dame, indignantly repulses the
amorous advances of a priest:

Li prestres i mist son pooir

A li requerre de s'amor;

II li donroit assez joiaus,

Mes la dame n'en vout nus prendre,
Ainz dist que ja par covoitise
Ne fera au prestre servise.



68 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

In vv. 98-100, 106-119, of the same fablel, Lady Ysabiau is repre-
sented as being addressed by the forester upon her return from
mass. He offers her a ring which bien valoit .i. marc for permis-
sion to kiss her pretty mouth, and all that this concession would
involve, but she repulses him comme cortoise, with the words (vv.
114-119) :

"Certes, sire, pas ne me poise

Se Tare et 1'anel vous remaint,

Quar nul besoing ne me soufraint

Par qoi vous m'aiez si sorprise;

Je ne vous ferai ja servise

Par vilonie que je sache. ..."

In vv. 39-55 of Du prestre teint, Fabliaux vi 139, we read how a
cortoise dame repulses the advances of a priest and drives him from
the house with a cudgel :

Mes li prestre mout poi prisoit

Quantque le borjois li fesoit;

Mieus vosist gesir o sa fame,

Qui mout estoit cortoise dame,

Et fresche et avenant et bele.

Le prestre chascun jor 1'apele,

De s'amour forment la requiert;

La bone dame dist ja n'iert

Ou'ele face a son mari tort,

S'el en devoit prendre la mort,

Ne vilanie ne hontage,

Et de ce a el cors grant rage

Que le prestre Ten a tant dit ;

Mout le ledenge et le maudit:

Fors 1'a gete de sa meson,

Et si fort le fiert d'un tison

Que pott s'en faut qu'el ne 1'esfondre.

In Chretien de Troies' Lancelot, vv. 4859-65, Queen Guinevere
defends Kay before King Bademagu, who believes that the knight
has dishonored her bed. She says Kay is so cortois and so loyal
that such a suspicion is untenable :

Je cuit que Kes li seneschaus

Est si cortois et si leaus

Que il n'an fet mie a mescroire;

Ne je ne regiet mie an foire



CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 69

Mon cors, ne n'an faz livreison.

Certes, Kes n'est mie teus hon

Qu'il me requeist tel outrage.

In vv. 15-17 of Bartsch, A. R. u. P., ii 52, Putepoinne is sent about
his business by a shepherdess whom he has addressed, with the

words :

Vos n'estes mies cortois, sire, sachies,

qui dames et puceletes donoies.

fu de ci, ne m'aprochies !

That a man should be aware of the unfaithfulness of his wife and
still permit it is characterized in vv. 73-77 of De Connebert, Fab-
liaux v 128, as unworthy of a cortois person:

Mais cil n'est pas cortois ne frans

Qui set que il est cous sofranz ;

Puisqu'il lo set et il lo sofre,

L'an lo devroit ardoir en sofre

Trestote la premiere foie.

The inference which we are justified in drawing from the
passages just quoted as to the chastity of the cortois is contradicted
by a still larger number of passages. Thus Blanceflour was so
full of cortoisie (Perceval, vv. 25040-6) that she yielded to Perceval:

Je ne vous voel mie center

Le sourplus, se plus en i a ;

Mais, se Percevaus Ten pria,

En Blancheflour ne remest mie;

Qui si plaine ert de courtoisie,

Que cose que faire vosist

Por nule rien ne desdesist.

In vv. 12118-22, 12128-31 of Perceval a girl is represented as yield-
ing her person to Gawain sans vilonie; but they discuss love and
cortoisie so long that she loses her virginity:

"Amis, fait-elle, a bandon

Vos mec mon cors, et vos present

M'amour a tous jors loiaument."

"Et jel retieng, ma doce amie,

Lies et joians, sans vilonie, ..."



D'amours, de droit, de cortoisie,
Ont puis ensamble tant parle



70 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

Et boinement ris et jue

Qu'ele a pierdu nom de pucele.

In Du clerc qui fit repus deriere I'escrin, Fabliaux iv 91, vv. .7-10,
we are told that

En Haynau ot une bourgoise,

En une ville, assez courtoise,

Plaine de jeu et de soulas,

K'amours le tenoit en ses las ;

but from vv. 56, 71-72, we learn that she was not chaste. The
author may have intended to make a reservation here by the use of
assez, as perhaps also in the following instance. De la grue, Fab-
liaux v 126, vv. 19-20:

Li vaslez fu assez cortois,
En la tor monta demenois.

His conduct with the maiden, detailed in the lines which follow,
shows that he was anything but cortois in the sense implied in the
first list of passages examined above. In vv. 558-561 of Du mantel
mautaillie, Fabliaux iii 55, all the ladies who essayed the trial of
chastity by putting on the mantle, no matter how cortoises they
were, failed. In the Lai d'lgnaurcs we read that twelve married
ladies to whom Ignaures has been making love (physical, cf. vv.
322-4) confess to one of their number whom they have chosen
prestre, each naming Ignaures as her lover. Two of them refer
to him as cortois (see vv. 140-3 and 157-9) 5 and, further, the poet
had already stated in v. 56 that Ignaures led a molt cortoisc vie.
Vv. 652-6 of Le Chevalier a l'pee relate an experience of that
universal lover, Gawain. He approaches his host's daughter "like
one who was not a vilain" and is about to violate her when inter-
rupted by the magic sword. Aimeric de Belenoi, Appel, Prov.
Chrest., St. 30, vv. 17-20, laments the cruelty of his lady in the
words,

qu'a penas pens e mon cor

nulh ioy, tant ai trist coratge,

quar del sieu bel cors cortes

no'm fai amistat corteza.

Vv. 1117-8, 1125-30 of La Clef d' Amors term it an act of vilanie
for one to obtain a kiss from his lady and then not to "complete
the cortoisie" by enjoying her body.



CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 71

Certain passages allow the cortois man to enjoy guilty love pro-
viding it be not against the will of his paramour. Perceval, vv.
32189-99:

Si faitement com je vous di

Furent ambedui concorde;

Tant ont baisie et acole

Que Gauwains la flour i quelli ;

Mais el livre pas n'en oi

Que fust maugre la damosele

Qu'ele pierdi nom de pucele,

Ains li grea, que mot n'en dist.

Se Gauwains forche li fesist,

Dont ne fust-il mie cortois

Et si ne fust raisons ne drois.
Cf. ibid., vv. 13115-6.

(b) THE VILAIN INDULGES IS GUILTY PHYSICAL LOVE.

Whatever doubt may have existed in the minds of the mediaeval
poets as to the morality of the cortois, they had no doubt as to the
vilain, but represented him consistently as immoral. In Beroul's
Tristan, ed. Michel i p. 6, guilty love is referred to as amor vilaine :

Et il ont fait entendre au roi

Que vos m'amez d'amor vilaine.

In vv. 4698-4700 of Blancandin a girl rejects a man's improper
proposals, saying that he talks like a vilain :

"Si me dones vo druerie,

Si vous espouserai demain."

"Oies," fet ele, "d'un vilain."

Vv. 91-98 of La Chatelaine de Vergi give the words of a knight
who refuses the proffered secret love of the chastelaine as desreson
si vilaine et si desloial.

So thoroughly and intimately was the idea of guilty love asso-
ciated with the vilain in the minds of the mediaeval poets that what
we might call the technical expression for it wa$ the abstract term
vilenie. The word appears in this sense in numerous passages.
E.g. in Thomas' Tristan, ed. Michel i pp. 14-15, vv. 291-4:

Ne larai, Ysolt, n'el vus die;

Vus faites mult grant vilanie,

A vostre cors hunisement,

Quant il vus aime si durement.
In Le Chevalier a I'Epee, vv. 550-1, are given the words of Gawain's



72 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

host, explaining to the knight that it is certain death for one who
lies with her to try to possess her :

Carder 1'estuet de vilenie,

Mout lou convient charroier droit. 1

The forcing of a girl against her will, condemned in the cortois
(see above), is referred to as a characteristic act of the vilain.
Roman de Troie, vv. 14987-92 :

Sovent li dit que por s'amor

Ne puet garir ne nuit ne jor:

Le mengier pert et le dormir,

Penser et lermes et sospir

Le font penser et esmaier.

Molt est vilains de li preier.
Bartsch, A. R. u. P., ii 19, vv. 49-53 :

ele n'en vuet mie,

mult me contralie

et dit 'nel feroie:

c'est granz vilenie

(Tome qui tant prie. .".'.'
Perceval, vv. 13115-6:

Qui par force fame covoite

II fait vilounie revoite.

That a woman should allow two men to possess her was con-
sidered by Chretien de Troies to be vilenie. Cliges, vv. 3152-3:

Amors an li trop vilena,

Car ses cors fu a deus rantiers.
Ibid., vv. 5250-5 :

Vostre est mes cuers, vostre est mes cors,

Ne ja nus par mon essanpleire

N'aprandra vilenie a feire;

Car quant mes cuers an vos se mist,

Le cors vos dona et promist

Si que autre part n'i avra.



word vilenie is used with the same signification also in the following
passages: Erec, v. 1838; Perceval, v. 3180; Tristan, i p. 5 ; ibid., i p. 108; ibid.,
i p. 198, v. 4126; Marie de France, Lais, Equitan, v. 300; ibid., Eliduc, v. 576;
Li respit del curteis et del vilain, strophe 10; Un Dist que on damme Respon,
Jubinal, Nouv. Rec., i p. 177; Fabliaux ii 50, v. 534; ibid., iii 55, vv. 678-81;
ibid., v no, vv. 277-9; Bartsch, A. R. u. P., ii 14, v. 52; ibid., ii 55, v. 8;
ibid., ii 115. vv. 1-7; ibid., iii 25, v. 55; ibid., iii 48, vv. 51-2.



CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 73

XV.

THE CORTOIS IS MERRY; THE VILAIN IS GLOOMY.

(a) THE CORTOIS IS MERRY.

Benoit de Sainte-More in the Roman de Troie, vv. 14661-4,
described one of the ornaments of the chamber of beauty, the image
of a girl who is molt corteise in that she is joyous and dances:

L'altre pucele est molt corteise

Car tote jor geue et enveise,

Bale et tresche, et tunbe et salt

Desus un pilier

The Roman de la Rose, i pp. 72-73, says that love is a very cortoise
malady, because it brings with it laughter and joy. It also declares,
i p. 24, that Leesce (Joy personified) is not at all vilaine (i.e. is
cortoise), but knows how to dance and enjoy herself. According
to the Breviari d'Amor, vv. 33838-9, no man was considered to be
genuinely cortois who was not happy and gay :

Ni es nulhs horn cortes verais

Si non es alegres e gais.

Instances of the association of the ideas of cortoisie and joy are
numerous. Le Breviari d'Amor, vv. 31379-82, admonishes lovers
to spread joy and cortezia everywhere :

Pesso done li fin amador

De semenar verai' amor

E gauh e domnei e solatz

E cortezia dans totz latz.

See also ibid., v. 30274 and v. 31785. Bartsch, A. R. u. P., ii 97,
vv, 6-8:

bele fu et coloree,

cortoise sage et senee,

s'ot le cuer gai.

Passages in which the ideas of joy and cortoisie are closely asso-
ciated are especially plentiful in the works of the troubadours. 1

(b) THE VILAIN IS GLOOMY.

Le Donnei des Amants, vv. 25-32, declares that the vilain takes
no pleasure in joy, but hates it, and always carries a mournful
countenance :

1 See Rayn. Choix iii, pp. 8, 14, 236, 361, and 451 ; ibid., v, pp. 103, 125, and
289; Appel, Prov. Chrest., St. 16, v. 54; ibid., St. 35, vv. 4-5.



74 CORTOIS AND VILAIN.

Si me suvint pus al derein

Ke mut est fel quer de vilein,

E la sue vie est maudite,

Quant en joie ne se delite,

Li suens deliz n'est fors grucer,

Pendre surcilz, batre e tencer,

Aver tuz jorz morne semblant,

Hair deduiz, joie e chant.

The same poem, vv. 57-60, mentions again the vilairis antipathy
to joy:

Fran quer eime mut chant e joie:

Ja Deu ne doint que vilein Foie !

Joie que nus est letuarie

Al vilein est tuche contrarie.

Le Roman de la Rose, i p. 6, referring to Une ymage qui Vilonie
Avoit non, praises the skill of the artist who had so well depicted
its dolor and despit \

Moult sot bien paindre et bien portraire

Cil qui tiex ymages sot faire;

Car bien sembloit chose vilaine,

De dolor et de despit plaine.

Not only was the vilain out of sympathy himself with pleasure,
he was not even disposed to allow others to enjoy it. In vv. 15-18
of a chanson de toile by Mestre Richart de Semilli, Bartsch, A. R.
u. P., i 64, a dame qui a mal mari complains of her vilain husband
who does not permit her to enjoy herself:

A un vilain m'ont donee mi parent,

qui ne fet fors auner or et argent,

et me fet d'ennui morir asses sovent,

qu'il ne me let joer.

XVI.

THE CORTOIS IS BEAUTIFUL; THE VILAIN IS UGLY.
(a) THE CORTOIS IS BEAUTIFUL.

The beauty of cortois persons is thus described in detail by
mediaeval French poets ; Le Chevalier a l'pee, vv. 254-62 :
Je ne vos porroie a nul jor
La biaute tote ne demie
Don ele estoit plainne et garnie,
Ne je ne la voil trespasser;
Si la voil a bries moz conter.



CORTOIS AND VILAIN. 75

Quanc'onques nature sot fere
Qui a cors (Tome deiist plere,
De cortoisie et de biaute,
Ot tot entor li asanble.

Perceval, vv. 42148-54:

Car courtois estoit durement;
Et fu li plus biaus chevaliers
C'on trouvast en . xxx . miliers ;
Onques si biaus, a son avis,
Ne vit ne de cors ne de vis ;
La face avoit bele et vermeille
Et le cors grant a grant mervelle.

Le Roman de la Rose, i p. 41, referring to Cortoisie:

El fu clere comme la lune
Est avers les autres estoiles,
Qui ne ressemblent que chandoiles.
Faitisse estoit et avenant,
Je ne sai fame plus plaisant.
Ele ere en toutes cors bien digne
D'estre empereris ou roine.
De Connebert, Fabliaux v 128, vv. 35-8:
La fame d'un fevre ot amee
Qui mout ert par lui renomee
For ce qu'ele ert et bele et blanche
Et de mout cortoise sanblance.

Tyolet, vv. 696-8 (cf. vv. 399-400) :


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