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Saints and sinners in the works of Marie de France MacKenzie, Francis Henri Maurice 1963

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SAINTS AND SINNERS IN THE WORKS OF MARIE DE FRANCE by Francis Henri Maurice MacKenzie M.A., Edinburgh University, 1940  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF M.A., The University of B r i t i s h Columbia i n the Department of Romance Studies  We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard  The University of B r i t i s h Columbia October, 1963 in  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make i t freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives.  It is understood that copying or publi-  cation of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  ^7 Department of The University of British Columbia,. Vancouver 8 , Canada. Date  ABSTRACT The problem of t h i s thesis may be b r i e f l y stated: What was Marie de France t r y i n g to say when she wrote the Espurgatoire, the Fables and the Lais?  What exactly was  she t r y i n g to t e l l her Twelfth Century audiences and how did she wish posterity to interpret her compositions? books written to entertain or to edify?  Were her  Or again, did she  have i n mind some moral or s p i r i t u a l improvement yet wish to  entertain simultaneously? With a view to discovering the answers to some of  these questions, the writer decided to undertake an analysis of the themes of s i n and s a i n t l i n e s s i n the works of Marie de France.  Some of the terms frequently used i n the course  of the investigation (e.g. s i n , s a i n t l i n e s s , theology) were then defined. the  In the Espurgatoire, i t was discovered that  main theme was the theme of sin.  sins mentioned i n that work, however.  There were few s p e c i f i c In the Fables, on the  other hand, the sins are always s p e c i f i c .  An attempt to  c l a s s i f y the Fables yielded s i x categories which revealed Marie's wide range of interests and her deep concern with the  problems of good and e v i l .  Fables i s r e l i g i o u s .  This medieval ethic i n the  A f i r s t group of seven Lais was  examined.  The content of each l a y was discussed, the magic elements - ii -  t r a c e d , the d e s t i n y m o t i f and the theme o f s i n a n a l y s e d .  The  aim o f t h i s procedure was to r e v e a l the complexity of Marie de F r a n c e ' s c o m p o s i t i o n s — a complexity to be found i n the v a r i o u s themes o f the L a i s , t h e i r symbols, t h e i r and on o c c a s i o n , t h e i r language. L a i s , the w r i t e r  structure,  In a second group o f  five  pursued h i s a n a l y s i s of the themes o f s i n  and of s a i n t l i n e s s .  In  seven out o f a t o t a l o f twelve L a i s ,  the s i n s r e v e a l e d were c l e a r l y t h e o l o g i c a l .  In the  Prologue  t o the L a i s , the w r i t e r t r i e d t o show t h a t t h e r e was no r e a l break i n the meaning o f l i n e s 1-27.  The c o n n e c t i n g l i n k  seemed t o him t o be the i d e a o f a process o f e x p l a n a t i o n . M a r i e ' s message i s t h a t deep, important t r u t h s must be c o n t i n u a l l y examined and i n t e r p r e t e d a f r e s h . but i t  may h e l p t o ward o f f s i n .  T h i s i s hard work,  The poetess e l a b o r a t e s  upon the theme o f s a i n t l i n e s s i n the E s p u r g a t o i r e . i n those s e c t i o n s o f the n a r r a t i v e  d e a l i n g w i t h the l i f e  of St.  the T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise and the C e l e s t i a l P a r a d i s e .  Patrick, She  a l s o p r o v i d e s f u r t h e r i l l u s t r a t i o n s o f the theme i n the  Lais  o f Fresne and E l i d u c . The message i n the E s p u r g a t o i r e , the F a b l e s and the L a i s i s an e x h o r t a t i o n t o a v o i d s i n i n t h i s world and seek s a l v a t i o n i n the l i f e  to come.  (The F a b l e s and the L a i s  a l s o entertainment o f the h i g h e s t o r d e r . ) i n r e l i g i o n i n the E s p u r g a t o i r e i s o b v i o u s . e t h i c i n the F a b l e s i s r e l i g i o u s .  Marie's  are  interest  The medieval  The p r e o c c u p a t i o n o f the  poetess w i t h the problems o f good and e v i l i n the L a i s shows - iii  -  the same deep moral concern.  Marie's audience f o r a l l three  works was the same, i . e . the l a y nobles, but there i s evidence in her writings that she wished posterity to think about and expound her texts.  Devotion, tenderness, t r u s t and reason  play an important role i n Marie's concept of love, which i s c l o s e l y a l l i e d to that of destiny.  She accepted the knightly  code of morals and was not unacquainted with the casuistry of courtly love, yet she rejected "l'amour courtois," which she probably held to be contrary to C h r i s t i a n e t h i c s .  Marie  de France's thinking i s , on the whole, t y p i c a l l y medieval. Her conclusions are almost a l l orthodox.  She shows i n the  Fables, however, that although she believes i n authority, she i s not prepared to tolerate i t s abuse.  Nor does Marie's  orthodoxy allow her to be complacent about the problem of " l a mal-mariee."  The fact that she i s even prepared, on occasion,  to condone adultery would seem to suggest that her views on the role of women i n the Twelfth Century were not quite orthodox. Were secular influences responsible f o r t h i s independence of thought, or are both secular and r e l i g i o u s influences accountable?  What i s certain i s that Marie de France was  interested  i n the C h r i s t i a n i d e a l of conduct, with i t s assumption on the one hand of human imperfection, and on the other, of an infinite perfectibility.  Thus, i t would be possible to look  upon the combined works of Marie de France as a t r i p t y c h , i . e . a set of three panels with pictures, designs or carvings, so hinged, that the two side panels may be folded over the  c e n t r a l one.  The L a i s - - t h e most complex of the t h r e e works—  would be the c e n t r a l panel and the F a b l e s and the E s p u r g a t o i r e would be the two s i d e p a n e l s .  Such a t r i p t y c h would c e r t a i n l y  be used as an a l t a r - p i e c e f o r the g r e a t e r g l o r y o f God.  - v -  SAINTS AND SINNERS IN THE WORKS OF MARIE DE FRANCE PREFACE The works o f Marie de France suggest a p e r s o n a l i t y w i t h engaging yet e l u s i v e charm.  The w r i t e r hopes t h a t  an  a n a l y s i s of the t h e m e — " S a i n t s and S i n n e r s i n the Works o f Marie de France"--which runs l i k e a t h r e a d through the  entire  fabric of Marie's poetic invention, w i l l furnish s u f f i c i e n t evidence t o enable him t o a r r i v e at c e r t a i n d e f i n i t e  con-  c l u s i o n s about the aims of the f i r s t French P o e t e s s . What was Marie de France t r y i n g to say t o her T w e l f t h Century audiences and how d i d she wish p o s t e r i t y t o her compositions? edify?  interpret  Were her books w r i t t e n to e n t e r t a i n or to  Or a g a i n , d i d she have i n mind some moral o r s p i r i t u a l  improvement, yet wish t o e n t e r t a i n s i m u l t a n e o u s l y ? The best-known and most l o v e d o f her works i s , u n d o u b t e d l y , the L a i s , which are specimens of a genre which first  appeared i n the T w e l f t h C e n t u r y .  Y e t , the F a b l e s and  the E s p u r g a t o i r e , i f they do not reach such h e i g h t s o f a r t i s t i c p e r f e c t i o n , can be read and enjoyed w i t h p r o f i t . Indeed, i f we r e a l l y wish t o d i s c o v e r the t r u e nature o f her p o e t i c c o n t r i b u t i o n t o the l i t e r a t u r e o f the T w e l f t h C e n t u r y ,  i t i s imperative that we read the Fables and the Espurgatoire de Seint P a t r i z , as well as the L a i s .  In the investigation  to follow then, a l l three works w i l l be examined. The present study does not have, as one of i t s aims, a discussion of the "Anonymous" lays, such as T y o l e t  t  Tydorel  and Guingamor, which have been attributed to Marie de France 1 2  by certain scholars, *  since there appears to be no academic  consensus favourable to the acceptance of such views. Gaston P a r i s . "Tyolet," Romania, VIII ( 1 8 7 9 ) , pp. 4C»50} "Tydorel," Romania, VIII ( 1 6 7 9 ) , pp. 6 6 - 7 2 ; "Guingamor," Romania, VIII ( 1 8 7 9 ) , pp. 5 0 - 5 9 . ^arnke includes Guingamor as one of Marie's works. E d i t i o n of "Lais," Halle, 1 9 2 5 .  - vii -  TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT . .  i i  PREFACE  vi  Chapter I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII.  INTRODUCTION  1  SAINTS AND SINNERS  15  THE ESPURGATOIRE DE SEINT PATRIZ  26  THE FABLES  55  THE LAIS  95  FIVE MORE LAIS  134  CONCLUSION  179  APPENDIX A  204  B  205  C  207  D  208  E  209  F  210  G  211  A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY  212  - viii -  CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Tribute must be paid t o the vast amount of work that has been accomplished by scholars, who have devoted so much time and energy to the problem of sources or origins i n the works of Marie de France.  The names of Eduard M a l l ,  Karl Warake and T. Atkinson Jenkins must be mentioned i n connection with the discussion of sources f o r the Espurgatoire de Seint P a t r i z .  The Espurgatoire i s the only one of Marie's  productions, of whose immediate source we can be c e r t a i n . I t i s , to a great extent, a f a i t h f u l reproduction of the L a t i n t r e a t i s e of the C i s t e r c i a n monk, H. (probably Henry of S a l t r e y ) , who l i v e d i n England i n the Twelfth Century. This narrative poem, written i n rhymed o c t o s y l l a b i c s , has 2,302 l i n e s . Marie de France has referred to the source of her Fables.  She asserts that her o r i g i n a l was a c o l l e c t i o n of  Fables, translated from L a t i n i n t o English by a certain Alvrez. She i s under the mistaken impression that the author i s King Alfred.  Warake has shown that the f i r s t f o r t y Fables o f the  complete s e l e c t i o n of Marie's Fables, are based on the Romulus N i l a n t i i . a prose derivative of the Fourth Century Romulus. - 1 -  The l a t t e r (the Romulus) i s i t s e l f a prose adaptation of the Fables of Phaedrus (1st century A.D.), whose c o l l e c t i o n i s based mainly on t r a d i t i o n a l s t o r i e s descended ultimately from Greek sources.  Some of Marie's Fables were taken from the  Vulgate Romulus, some from the Corpus of Eenart Tales, others are based on popular fabliaux or Monks' Tales, while the remainder either appear to show eastern influences and have reached us through oral channels or show l i t t l e or no evidence of t h e i r o r i g i n s .  The investigations of Leopold Hervieux*  and Karl Warnke^ have thrown considerable l i g h t on the problems of origins and sources, yet there remains much uncharted t e r r i t o r y f o r research i n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r f i e l d . The fable i s , of course, a didactic genre, composed of a narrative element and a moral element inferred from the former.  I t i s a f i c t i t i o u s story, where the characters are  usually, but not always, animals.  Sometimes, the p r a c t i c a l  moral element i s somewhat loosely connected to the narrative of the fable.  In Marie de France's c o l l e c t i o n , there are 102  fables. Much has been written on the origins or sources of Marie*s L a i s .  The l a i (or l a i breton) has been compared to  a short story, and described as "une nouvelle en vers. 3 n  ^•Leopold Hervieux, Les Fabulistes Latins, 2  It  (Paris, 1S93X  K a r l Warnke, Die Fabeln der Marie de France (Halle,  ^Ernest Hoepffner, Les Lais de Marie de France (Paris: Nizet, 1959).  1&9&)  - 3 -  i s a narrative poem, written i n rhymed o c t o s y l l a b i c s .  It  portrays a single incident or sentimental episode (aventure). The Lays of Marie de France vary i n length.  ("Chievrefeuil"  has 11$ l i n e s , Eliduc 1,134.) Lucien Foulet has advanced a theory purporting to show that Marie de France was the creator of t h i s genre.  His theory, i n e f f e c t , denies the existence  of the reputed Breton sources.  l e t Marie h e r s e l f has informed  us, that Breton Lais could be heard and read i n her day. What was meant by the Matiere de Bretagne?  We are  f a m i l i a r with these s t o r i e s ( l a "matiere") through Medieval French l i t e r a t u r e (where remarks about them are made and where we also f i n d adaptations). In Welsh manuscripts of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, the s t o r i e s are to be found r e t o l d .  The subject deals with King Arthur, the King  of the Britons, at the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasion i n England.  The words "Bretagne" and "Breton" could be applied  to Twelfth Century Continental Britanny or to Sixth Century B r i t a i n , the island home of the Bretons.  Does "de" i n  "Matiere de Bretagne" mean "from" or "about"?  A l l we ean say  i s that there were Breton minstrels, some of whom may have been Welsh, who  spread C e l t i c s t o r i e s i n non-Celtic t e r r i t o r i e s ,  including France, during the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries. But none of these stories i s preserved i n the form i n which they are t o l d .  None appear to have been consigned to w r i t i n g .  In addition to the narrative part, the l a i included a melody, which was played by the Breton rote (a kind of harp).  - 4 But again, these melodies have not eome down to us.  Marie  may have adapted the narrative part of some of these l a i s , f o r she r e f e r s t o written sources (Guigemar 22-24, C h i e v r e f e u i l 5-7). "li  She also r e f e r s repeatedly to o r a l sources.  aunt^!en Breton" (Eliduc 1182) or " l i  auneien"  There are (Milun 534)  or again u n mut anci'en l a i bretun" (Eliduc I ) . On more than n  one occasion she claims that the l a i s have been composed by Bretons.  (Compare Guigemar 20. Equitan - 2 f f and 312. Les  Deux amants - 5, Laostie - 244.) We know l i t t l e about the r e l a t i o n s h i p of the French L a i t o i t s Breton model, however.  Perhaps Professor Ewert  sums up the position best, when he writes that "the L a i s show a masterly adaptation o f the primitive Breton legends and the popular stock-in-trade of the Breton jungleur to the tastes of Marie's  contemporaries."^-  The problem of l i t e r a r y sources has also engrossed scholars.  The Prologue to the L a i s shows that Marie was  f a m i l i a r with the writing of the ancients.  She was acquainted  with the Remedia Amoris of Ovid, perhaps through French t r a n s l a t i o n s or adaptations. the Roman de Thebes.  She knew the Brut of Wace and  She had read an account of the T r i s t a n  story (Chievrefeuil, 5-7).  Her idiom and her treatment of  certain themes, however, reveal most c l e a r l y the influence o f the Roman d»Eneas.  De France, Marie, L a i s , ed. A l f r e d Ewert, Introduction, p. XVII (Oxford: Blackwell, 1958).  - 5 Scholars have attempted to establish the i d e n t i t y of Marie de France.  Eduard Mall held that Marie de France was  Marie de Gompiegne and E. Winkler t r i e d to show that she was Marie de Champagne.  Both theories have been refuted.  has suggested she was the Abbess of Reading.  E. Levi  U.T. Holmes has  suggested that the poetess might be i d e n t i f i e d with a "Marie, the daughter of Count Walran de Meulan who married a Hue Talbot and presumably went to l i v e i n Herefordshire and Devon."^ Perhaps the most widely-accepted view i s that of the B r i t i s h Historian, S i r John Fox,  who has suggested that Marie  was the natural daughter of Geoffroy d*Anjou Henri I I ) . 11#1  (the father of  This Marie became the Abbess of Shaftesbury i n  or e a r l i e r and died about  1216.  The poetess i n the Epilogue to the Fables states "Marie a i nun, s i s u i de France."  She claims to have trans-  lated the Fables from an English c o l l e c t i o n at the request of a certain Count William  "Par amur cunte Willame, l e plus  v a i l l a n t de nul (cest) realme."  In the Prologue to the Fables,  she describes the Count, as a " f l e u r s ... de chevalerie." In the Prologue to the L a i s she states she does not wish to translate a good story from L a t i n into French, f o r many have already done t h i s and such an undertaking would bring her l i t t l e credit.  She intends to write down what she has heard  U.T. Holmes, A History of Old French L i t e r a t u r e (New York: 1937). 2  S i r John C. Fox, "Marie de France " English H i s t o r i c a l  Review, XXV (1910), 303 f f , and XXVI (1911), 317  ff.  - 6 and what others have composed "Pur remembrance."  She  claims  to be w r i t i n g i n honour of a "nobles r e i s , k i tant estes pruz et c u r t e i s , A k i tute j o i e se encline, E en k i quoeur tuz biens racine."  In the introduction t o Guigemar, having  referred to h e r s e l f as "Marie, k i en sun tens pas ne s'oblie," she states: Mai s quand i l ad en un pals Humme' u femme de grant p r i s C i l qui de sun bien unt envie Sovent en dient v i l e n i e . it  In the Espurgatoire  (1. 2297-2300) she writes:  Jo, Marie, a i mis en memoire, l e l i v r e de 1'Espurgatoire en Romanz, q u ' i l s e i t entendables a l a i e gent e convenables. I t would seem, then, that Marie was  a native of France  (possibly i n the sense of l ' I s l e de France, as opposed to Burgundy or Champagne), that she knew English and L a t i n , that she claimed to be a serious writer, who  d i s l i k e d envious r i v a l s .  She probably l i v e d and wrote i n England, f o r , there are English names and words i n both the Lais and the Fables.  She  trans-  l a t e d the Fables from an English c o l l e c t i o n and the o r i g i n a l of the Espurgatoire  i s the work of an English monk, H.  (pro-  bably Henry de S a l t r e y ) . The only r e a l l y dependable source f o r the dating of Marie's works i s the reference to Saint Malachias i n the Espurgatoire  de Seint P a t r i z (1.  canonized on J u l y 6,  11#9,  207).  As t h i s Bishop was  i t i s c l e a r that Marie de France  must have composed her Espurgatoire  a f t e r that date.  The King  * 7 to whom the L a i s were addressed may have been Henry II of England or the young King Henry (Henri au Cort Mantel).  The  Count William, at whose request the Fables were written, was perhaps William Longsword (Guillaume de Longuespee) reputed to be a natural son of Henry II and Rosamund C l i f f o r d .  Other  suggestions advanced by scholars are William Marshall (Guillaume l e Marechal, 1146-1219) or William de Mandeville, E a r l of Essex.  Marie probably wrote during the l a s t  one  t h i r d of the Twelfth Century.  The c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of manuscripts, the use of l i n g u i s t i c c r i t e r i a to e s t a b l i s h c r i t i c a l texts, problems of authenticity, the study of l i t e r a r y influences, the search f o r evidence i n the dating of Marie's works, the attempt to establish Marie's i d e n t i t y — t h e s e have been the main aims of research.  More  recently, however, an attempt has been made to explore other avenues.  Attention had already been paid to the world i n  which the poetess l i v e d , but a greater emphasis has been l a i d within the l a s t twenty years upon the ever closer study of that world.  In t h i s sense, i t might be held that E.A.  Francis'  and A l f r e d Adler's works, constitute to some extent a new approach.  E.A. F r a n c i s  1  has shown that the moral i n Marie's  Fables often r e f e r s to contemporaneous problems.  She  has  shown, i n p a r t i c u l a r , that the t r i a l scene i n Lanval i s based  Elizabeth A. Francis, "Marie de France et son Temps," Romania, l x x i i ( 1 9 5 1 ) , 78-99.  - c o -  upon the l e g a l procedure of the day.  The l e g a l terminology  used by Marie can be found i n descriptions of actual t r i a l s of the p e r i o d . I n d e e d , between the years 1050  to 1200  p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n s gradually emerged and a new law was  evolved.  stable  system of  Feudal barons and t h e i r m i l i t a r y followers  alone could no longer s a t i s f y the needs of the new Henry I I s court i n p a r t i c u l a r ! ) . T  age  (and  A l i t e r a t e professional  s t a f f became necessary f o r the peaceful e x p l o i t a t i o n of r e sources and the administration of j u s t i c e .  Mr. A l f r e d A d l e r  2  would appear to be i n sympathy with the attempt to discover new  facts from contemporary records.  He i s p a r t i c u l a r l y w  interested, however, i n the problem of "Hofische D i a l e k t i k . " A second approach to research problems has been that of " l ' e c o l e immanente," of whom Leo Spitzer- i s the main r e 5  presentative.  Pierre Le G e n t i l writes, "La c r i t i q u e que  M.  Spitzer q u a l i f i e d'immanente est une c r i t i q u e qui cherche l e s *rapports intimes  T  par lesquels sont unis l e s moindres d e t a i l s  a l i n t e ' r i e u r des organismes vivants."^ t  Le G e n t i l adds that  •"•Sir Frederick Pollock, and Frederick William Maitland, The History of English Law before the Time of Edward I (Cambridge University Press, 1898J. A l f r e d Adler,"Hofische D i a l e k t i k im L a i du Freisne," Geranisch-Romanische Monatschrift. V o l . 42 (1961). 2  „ ^Leo Spitzer, "Marie de France - Dichterin von ProblemMarchen," Z e i t s c h r i f t fur Romanische P h i l o l o g i e . L (1930), 29-67. Also "The Prologue to the Lais of Marie de France and Medieval Poetics," Modern Philology. XL-XLI (1943), 96-102. ^ P i e r r e ^ e G e n t i l , "A Propos, du, L a i du C^hevref e u i l l e et de 1 i n t e r p r e t a t i o n des Textes Medievaux," Melanges d ' h i s t o i r e l i t t e r a i r e o f f e r t s a Henri Chamard (Paris: Nizet, 1951). T  - 9 t h i s school of c r i t i c s must, when studying medieval l i t e r a t u r e , possess " l e sens du mysterieux" and " l e sens de 1*architecture intellectuelle."  The correct approach t o a work of art i s  i n t u i t i v e as well as r a t i o n a l .  Friedrich Schurr  1  and R. Foster  Damon share some of S p i t z e r ' s views and could, therefore, be 2  included i n t h i s group.  Mention must be made of a t h i r d group,  including Ernest Hoepffner and Jeanne Lods, who stress the effectiveness of Marie's writings on the fundamental theme of love.  These two writers are interested, therefore, mainly i n  the L a i s . The above three groups do not include the names of many eminent c r i t i c s of the works of Marie de France.  Never-  theless, they represent tendencies or a d i r e c t i o n along which research i s progressing.  The works of Marie de France have, i n the past, attracted well-informed  scholars of the highest c a l i b r e .  It i s ,  therefore, with a c e r t a i n amount of d i f f i d e n c e that the writer of t h i s t h e s i s questions findings.  the v a l i d i t y of some of t h e i r many  Only the sincere wish to contribute an o r i g i n a l and  worthwhile solution to the problem of t h i s t h e s i s and the importance of the subject could j u s t i f y an analysis of these findings.  ^"Friedrich Schurr, "Komposition und Symbolik i n den L a i s der Marie de France," Z e i t s c h r i f t f u r Romanische P h i l o l o g i e . L ( 1 9 3 0 ) , 556-82. S. Foster-Damon, "Marie de France: Psychologist of Courtly Love," Publications of the Modern Language Assoc., XLIV ( 1 9 2 9 ) , 968-96.  - 10 The problem of t h i s thesis has been stated i n the Preface i n general terms.  What i s Marie de France t r y i n g  to say to her audiences i n the Twelfth Century and what does she mean to us, now?  The problem i s , indeed, complex.  Lucien Foulet, i n an a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d "Marie de France et l a legende du Purgatoire de Saint P a t r i z " (Romanische Forschungen, XXII, pp. 599-627) states that Marie de France was not drawn to Henri de Saltrey's work by her interest i n theology. story.  Marie wanted mainly ("avant tout") an i n t e r e s t i n g  Marie c e r t a i n l y wanted an i n t e r e s t i n g story.  Whether  t h i s was her main concern or not i s a d i f f e r e n t matter.  And  whether she was interested i n theology or not, i s something the  writer hopes to discuss i n the course of t h i s investigation. Jeanne Lods r e f e r r i n g to Marie de France also states:  " E l l e n'est pas theologienne, e t , dans l e s L a i s , tout au moins peu moraliste."  The f i r s t h a l f of t h i s statement seems  to be i n agreement with Lucien Foulet's statement from h i s a r t i c l e on l'Espurgatoire de Saint P a t r i z .  As regards the  second h a l f of the statement that Marie de France i s "peu moraliste dans l e s L a i s , " the writer of t h i s t h e s i s i s i n c l i n e d to disagree with M  l l e  Lods.  I f morality means the q u a l i t y  of being i n accord with the p r i n c i p l e s and standards of right conduct, i t would be d i f f i c u l t to share Miss Lods* views. Marie would appear, on the contrary, to be immensely interested i n how her characters act i n the Lais and whether they pursue good or e v i l ends.  This point w i l l be discussed more f u l l y  - 11 i n a l a t e r chapter. Suheyla Bayrav  x  i n h i s book "Symbolisme M e d i e v a l —  Beroul, Marie, Chretien" writes:—-"D'autres (meaning Lays) ignorent tout souci ethique et ne visent qu'a raconter une b e l l e aventure."  But there are surely very few L a i s , i f  any, where t h i s description would f i t . Miss E. Rickert^ holds that among Marie's works, only the Espurgatoire shows an i n t e r e s t i n r e l i g i o n .  This again  would seem to t h i s writer to remain a matter f o r debate. Ernest Hoepffner points out that Marie, although acquainted with "1*amour courtois" does not approve of i t . For her, love i s a simple, natural passion.  I t should,  however, be controlled by reason (cf Les Deux Amants, E l i d u c ) . Hoepffner holds that Marie has sympathy and understanding f o r her own characters. He adds, however, "Cette comprehension s'accompagne toutefois chez Marie d'un profond sentiment de j u s t i c e , cette notion de l a j u s t i c e r i g i d e et implacable que Marie partage avec son temps."3  The writer i s i n complete  agreement with t h i s statement, but he would add that Marie shared with her epoch certain equally d e f i n i t e r e l i g i o u s ideas. Why,  f o r instance, does Marie show no p i t y f o r the lady i n  s Suheyla Bayrav, Symbolisme Medieval--Beroul. Marie. Chretien (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France], 1958. S i r John C. Fox, op. c i t . (1910). Also Edith Rickert, Marie de France: Seven of ner Lays done into English (London: 1901K 2  ^E. Hoepffner, op. c i t . . p. 177.  - 12 Chaitivel?  Because she does not approve of "l'amour courtois,"  which i s contradictory to C h r i s t i a n e t h i c s . Hoepffner discussing the love element i n Marie's L a i s writes (op. c i t . p. 171) "C'est un sentiment doux et t  tendre, t e i n t / de melaneolie,  ear Marie en connait l a  f r a g i l i t e e t l a duree ephe'mere." /  what love leads to, that matters? does i t lead to e v i l ?  Indeed, i s i t not rather Does i t lead to good, or  What i s the destiny reserved f o r the  lovers? Professor Ewert i n the introduction t o his e d i t i o n of Marie's L a i s , attempts to date her various works.  "Marie's  own statements" he writes "indicate the order (1) L a i s , (2) Fables, (3) Espurgatoire, that i s to say, a progression from entertainment through moralization to e d i f i c a t i o n . "  1  He  maintains that when Marie wrote the Prologue to the L a i s , she had not yet written the Espurgatoire  (a t r a n s l a t i o n from Latin)  otherwise, she would not have rejected the t r a n s l a t i o n of some "bone e s t o i r e " from the L a t i n .  Professor Ewert also  writes the following: The Prologue to the Lais leads o f f with a "moral" j u s t i f i c a t i o n of l i t e r a r y a c t i v i t y and even i f one allows f o r the conventionality of t h i s exordium, i t i s most u n l i k e l y that, i f she had already composed the Fables, she would have proceeded to dismiss the idea of t r a n s l a t i n g from L a t i n without mentioning t r a n s l a t i o n from English and her own Fables.2  De France, Marie, op. c i t . , Introduction, p. V I I . 2 I b i d . . Introduction, p. VI. The underlinings are this writer's.  - 13 I t should be noted, then, that the idea that the L a i s are entertainment as opposed to moralization or e d i f i c a t i o n , i s based on the.argument f o r the order (1) L a i s , (2) Fables, (3) Espurgatoire.  The very slender evidence f o r t h i s i s to  be found mainly i n Marie's own writings and Professor Ewert's findings seem to the present writer to be p r o v i s i o n a l .  There  i s considerable disagreement among scholars over the dating of Marie's works. Espurgatoire  x  I t may well be that the L a i s l i k e the  and the Fables are not purely entertainment.  To show the interdependence of Marie's whole l i t e r a r y production Schurr  2  i s one of the aims of t h i s t h e s i s . F r i e d r i c h  appears to be one of the few scholars, who  has, to  some extent, indicated the interdependence of the works of ii Marie de France.  C e r t a i n l y , Schurr attempts to l i n k up the  Lais and the Fables, i n that he stresses the a l l e g o r i c a l element to be found i n both of them.  u Schurr makes i t quite c l e a r that he believes Marie's s t o r i e s to have "ihren Sinn innerhalb des Weltbildes," i . e . they make sense within the framework, as i t were, of her philosophical or t h e o l o g i c a l views, and he stresses the s p i r i t u a l aspect of her works.  Leo Spitser has also defined  the L a i s as "an attempt to bring to the fore the deepest See Appendix A. :  Schurr, op. c i t . , L, 556-82  - 14  -  problems of l i f e by condensed symbols i n a f a i r y t a l e atmosphere."  1  And the same author has demonstrated convin-  cingly that Marie was  a "poeta philosophus et theosophus."  This, among other things, implies that she was writer whose "forma mentis" was Christiana."  2  a literary  an "anima n a t u r a l i t e r  L a s t l y , Foster Damon^ suggests that she  was  f a m i l i a r with the works of the subtlest theology and that she may,  therefore, have considered the whole v i s i b l e  universe  as a symbol of the unseen. I t i s possible then to look upon the combined works of Marie de France as a t r i p t y c h , that i s , a set of three panels with pictures, designs, or carvings.  The panels are  often so hinged that the two  be folded over  the center one.  side panels may  Such triptyches are used as altar-pieces  f o r the greater glory of  God.  In the meantime, the theme of "Saints and  Sinners"  requires closer examination.  Helmuth Hatzfeld, "Esthetic C r i t i c i s m applied to Medieval Romance L i t e r a t u r e , " Romance Philology, 194& , pp. 3 0 5 327. 2 Footnote to: Leo Spitzer, "The Prologue to the L a i s of Marie de France and Medieval Poetics," Modern Philology, XL-XLI ( 1 9 4 3 ) , 9 6 - 1 0 2 . 1  3  •^Foster-Damon, op. c i t . , p.  996.  CHAPTER I I SAINTS AND SINNERS The aim of t h i s chapter i s to discuss certain terms frequently used i n the course of t h i s i n v e s t i g a t i o n .  Such  expressions as theology, s a i n t l i n e s s , s i n , purgatory, and penance, must be examined and defined so that the reader may become f a m i l i a r with the precise meanings to be attached to them i n l a t e r chapters. Theology i s now no longer merely the Dogma of the Divine nature or of C h r i s t ' s person.  I t has been defined  as "the theory of how C h r i s t i a n Salvation i s conveyed through the sacraments to s i n f u l man."  1  I t has also been described  as a "method f o r r e f l e c t i n g on the mysteries revealed i n Christian o r i g i n s , "  2  or again "a d i s c i p l i n e i n which the  truths of the C h r i s t i a n r e l i g i o n , based on and illuminated by r e v e l a t i o n , are interpreted, developed, and ordered into a body o f doctrine. 3 n  However, the main concern of t h i s writer i s not with theology, but with the l i t e r a r y productions of Marie de France. I t i s f e l t that the following more general d e f i n i t i o n i s more  "^Encyclopaedia B r i t t a n i c a . o Jean Leclercq, The Love of Learning and the Desire f o r God, A Mentor Omega Book, New American L i b r a r y , 1962, p. 225. 3Y. Congar, Theol. Diet, de Theol. Cath., XV, 1-341. - 15 -  - 16 suitable:  Theology i s the Study of God and the r e l a t i o n s  between God and the Universe.  Unless otherwise indicated  then i t can be assumed that the writer, when he uses the word "theology" i s r e f e r r i n g to t h i s l a s t d e f i n i t i o n . The saints were among the f i r s t to expound humanit a r i a n p r i n c i p l e s and to f i g h t f o r s o c i a l j u s t i c e .  They  showed sympathy and love f o r the poor, they considered a l l nations and races to be,equal, they proclaimed the sanctity of work.  They examined and reassessed the role of women i n  the s o c i a l structure.  They were among the f i r s t  educators.  They helped improve the l o t of the slave. Why  should the saints have exerted so great a c u l t u r a l  influence on succeeding generations?  They did so because  they had set an example of perfection or near-perfection to others.  In the sure possession of t h e i r f a i t h they l i v e d i n  the l i g h t of a Divine Love. they could converse with God. natural r e a l i t y , independent Divine Law.  Unhampered by earthly desires, They believed i n a superof the senses:  they obeyed the  They longed f o r an eternity, where union with  God would be t h e i r sole reward. Renunciation and s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e are two of the most constant c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the s a i n t . only good. flesh.  God i s the whole and  The saint f a s t s repeatedly.  He mortifies the  Sometimes, he seeks poverty and solitude, at other  times, he works with h i s fellow-men.  He i s always humble.  Some of the better presentations of saints show c l e a r l y  - 17 that the saint i s never alone.  He i s seen against a luminous  background, where the blue of Heaven f l o a t s around h i s head or the pale gold of a halo encircles i t .  Indeed, he eannot  be separated from t h i s background, which reveals that he l i v e s i n God and f o r God.  Sometimes the saint i s represented as  part of a p i l l a r i n a church. of movement.  The body seems to lack freedom  The saint has been overpowered by h i s r e l i g i o u s  experience--his body i s extended by the a t t r a c t i o n of Divine love.  His desire f o r union with God i s l i k e a flame, r i s i n g  ever upwards.  The saint, then, i s conditioned as a r e s u l t  of h i s overwhelming discovery of the love of God. says:  Pascal  "Pour f a i r e d un homme un saint, i l faut bien que ce f  s o i t l a grace, et qui en doute ne s a i t ce que e'est que saint et qu'homme."  1  Representations, legends and chronicles t e l l us how varied are the a c t i v i t i e s of the saints.  The saint may be  a scholar, an a r t i s t , an army leader, a king, a lonely visionary or wandering preacher. Do we not think of St. Anthony of Coma as a Saint of Renunciation? Has not S t . Augustine been named the "saint of the i n t e l l e c t " ?  2  St.  Francis of A s s i s i i s surely the Saint of Love, St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Saint who subdued the W i l l .  Is not St. Theresa  Blaise Pascal, Pensees, ed. Guersant Marcel, Sixieme chapitre, La Morale Chretienne (Paris: Club francais du L i v r e , 1957). * Rene^ Fulop-Miller, The Saints that Moved the World (New York: C o l l i e r Books, 1962), p. 117. 2  - 18 of A v i l a , a visionary or ecstatic saint, as had been S t , Hildegard of Rupertsberg 500 years e a r l i e r ? However, the aim of the saint i s always the same. It i s union with God and the salvation of the soul. His whole l i f e i s an attempt to imitate the l i f e of Jesus C h r i s t . The saint i s usually seen, then, journeying along the road to  perfection.  The concept of s i n played an important part i n the r e l i g i o u s thinking of the Middle Ages. the  The s i n of Adam and  s i n of Satan are themes, which have attracted theologians,  poets, and a r t i s t s .  God had endowed Adam with supernatural  grace, when He f i r s t  created him.  Adam was immortal.  Satan  stood highest among God s angels. T  Sin would seem to imply a lack of perfection, a privation of i n f i n i t e  being, an i n s u f f i c i e n c y o f power and  knowledge r e l a t i v e to God's might and omniscience. need not imply moral e v i l , however.  This  S i n i n t h i s sense i s a  s t r i c t l y theological concept. I f God predestined Adam or Satan to s i n , then the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r s i n was no longer t h e i r s .  On the other  hand, i f God did not predestine Adam and Satan to s i n , then the  cause of t h e i r s i n must have been a free choice on t h e i r  part between good and e v i l .  But how exactly did the c o n f l i c t  between good and e v i l arise within them, and what could make them choose e v i l ?  The s i n of Adam and the s i n of Satan are  - 19 among the great mysteries of the C h r i s t i a n r e l i g i o n . The t h i r d chapter of Genesis i l l u s t r a t e s c l e a r l y the sins of pride and envy i n Satan and Eve.  Adam's disobedience  has i t s roots i n the fact that he loves Eve more than he loves God.  Sin has been defined as the "purposeful disobedience  a creature to the known w i l l of God."  of  1  In both pagan and C h r i s t i a n worlds, pride i s considered the basic s i n .  The heroes i n Greek plays, who  strive  against the w i l l of the gods, soon learn to t h e i r cost, that they are mere human beings. one's own worth or i t may  Pride i s an excessive b e l i e f i n  involve an exaggerated love f o r  some object, which i s not deserving of such love.  The Supreme  Good i s the only object worthy of a boundless love.  Earthly  goods should be valued only f o r t h e i r r e l a t i v e merits.  The  Divine Law must be observed. The Judaeo-Christian conception of s i n implies a r e l a t i o n s h i p of law or a bond of love between God and  man.  Transgression i s contrary both to the natural law, which our reason approves and to Divine Law. person who  An act i s s i n f u l , i f the  commits i t turns away from God to the worship or  love of other things. Criminal and s i n f u l behaviour are not to be The criminal act v i o l a t e s the law of man, v i o l a t e s the Law  X  Church.  of Gd.  Both may  confused.  the s i n f u l act  be e v i l , but unless the act  F.L. Cross, The Oxford Dictionary of the C h r i s t i a n  - 20 i s contrary to the s p i r i t of Divine Law,  i t i s not a s i n .  Indeed, the whole concept of s i n i s related to a b e l i e f i n God.  D i s b e l i e f i n God would imply d i s b e l i e f i n s i n , i n which  case there would be neither wicked nor righteous.  Pascal  says: Changeons l a regie que nous avons prise jusqu' ( i c i T pour jtiger de ce qui est bon. Nous en avions pour regie notre v o l e n t i , prenons maintenant l a volonte' de (Dieu): tout ce q u ' i l veut nous est bon et juste, tout ce q u ' i l ne veut (pas, mauvais et i n j u s t e ) . Tout ce que Dieu ne veut pas est defendu.l In other words, the absence of God's W i l l renders something unjust and wrong. St. Thomas Aquinas points out that e v i l i s more comprehensive than s i n .  2  Sin i s always present i n human  nature, never i n the Divine  nature.  The doctrine of O r i g i n a l Sin seems to be connected to the doctrine of the need f o r a Divine Saviour. himself became man of O r i g i n a l S i n .  God  to redeem the human race from the t a i n t According to Thomas Aquinas, man's f a l l  from grace means not only that he i s deprived of those extraordinary g i f t s of l i f e and knowledge, but also i s wounded i n perpetuity by Adam's s i n .  "Weakness, ignorance, malice  and  concupiscence," Aquinas^ declares, "are the four wounds i n f l i c t e d on the whole of human nature as a r e s u l t of our  ^"Pascal, op. c i t . , p. 77#. T . Aquinas, Summa Theologica (Part II) F i r s t Part ( L i t e r a l l y translated by the English Dominican Province) (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1 9 2 7 ) , p. 266. 2  3  I b i d . , p. 447.  - 21 f i r s t parent's s i n . "  With the loss of grace, man  also  suffers a diminution i n " h i s natural i n c l i n a t i o n " to v i r t u e . The " g i f t of grace" i s required to heal these wounds. Sins have been c l a s s i f i e d according to whether they were carnal or s p i r i t u a l , mortal or v e n i a l , formal or material, and according to t h e i r degree of gravity.  The  cardinal virtues i n theology are prudence, j u s t i c e , temperance, fortitude. charity.  The theological virtues are f a i t h , hope and Charity or love i s the p r i n c i p l e of sanctity, just  as pride i s the p r i n c i p l e of s i n .  The  seven deadly sins are:  pride, l u s t , envy, gluttony, anger, and s l o t h . What d i s t i n c t i o n i s to be made between s i n and By vice i s meant wicked or e v i l conduct.  The word has  vice? the  connotation that a p a r t i c u l a r moral f a i l i n g can be observed within a s o c i a l group. our r e l a t i o n s with God.  Sin, on the other hand, r e f e r s to Treachery and deceit, f o r example,  can be regarded as vices from a s o c i a l point of view, but as sins from a theological point of view. a desire to harm others. f o r long.  Again, malice i s  No society can tolerate such a vice  But malice i s also a s i n , f o r i t i s not i n aecord  with the practice of brotherly love of our neighbour which God has enjoined us to observe. St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas are i n agreement that good works as well as grace are necessary f o r salvation. Sin, i n the s t r i c t l y theological sense, should not be confused with a "sense of s i n , " which i s a much more modern  - 22 concept. Catholic theologians have always made a d i s t i n c t i o n between eternal punishment of the damned i n H e l l and the expiatory punishments of the repentant i n Purgatory.  In  other words, punishment can be remedial as well as r e t r i b u t i v e . Indeed, punishment may be f o r the good of those who are punished, but i t can also be f o r the "amendment" of others. Purgatory, according to Roman Catholic  teachings,  i s a state or place of temporal punishment where those who have died i n the grace of God are expiating t h e i r sins by s u f f e r i n g u n t i l such time as they are admitted to the B e a t i f i c V i s i o n , that i s , the Divine Being i n Heaven, who i s the f i n a l destiny of the redeemed. From her early beginnings the Roman Catholic Church has i n s i s t e d on the necessity of prayer f o r the dead.  It  has encouraged o f f i c i a l l y the o f f e r i n g of Masses, indulgences and public as well as private prayers, and works of devotion on behalf of the souls i n Purgatory. God provided i n the Sacraments instruments of healing grace which would remove our sins, hereditary and acquired. In the early centuries of the C h r i s t i a n era, absolution was withheld u n t i l the completion of the Penance.  Confession  and penance ("satisfacciun") were followed by absolution. In today's "private penance," confession and absolution are followed by.a l i g h t formal penance.  The term ''penance" comes,  of course, from the L a t i n "poena" meaning punishment.  In  - 23 those early C h r i s t i a n centuries, then, i t was held that the sinner should to some extent atone f o r h i s transgressions during h i s l i f e - t i m e .  Great importance seems to have been  attached to the " s a t i s f a c c i u n " or the amends made by the sinner. Feudal notions combined with the p e n i t e n t i a l system had contributed i n the eighth and ninth Century t o produce a somewhat external view of s i n .  For each s i n due s a t i s f a c t i o n  was to be paid i n a measurable quantity of penance.  As a  r e s u l t of the teachings of S t . Anselm and the Vietorines a more personal view o f s i n reappeared, however. The practice of asceticism also played a r o l e i n favouring b e l i e f s such as that of the " s a t i s f a c c i u n . " Did not the ascete endeavour to subdue or eradicate h i s passions and control h i s w i l l ? The Penance consisted usually of f a s t s , pilgrimages, floggings, and imprisonment.  continence,  For p r a c t i c a l  reasons, a system of commutations eventually replaced the f u l l penances of the early centuries.  A Penance of years  or a long and arduous pilgrimage was replaced by a sum of money given by the sinner or he might be made to repeat parts of the Psalter i n a position of extreme discomfort. practice of indulgences  The  was to evolve l a t e r from t h i s system  of commutation. Catholics today would, no doubt, regard the Eucharist as the p r i n c i p a l sacrament.  But to non-catholics the Middle  - 24 Ages appear often as a period when the p r i n c i p a l sacrament was  the sacrament of penance.  The C h r i s t i a n appears l i k e an  i n v a l i d , whose state of health i s ever dependent on the services of the Church. Several d e f i n i t i o n s of s i n have been suggested i n the course of t h i s chapter.  That of the P r i v a t i o B o n i ,  1  which implies that s i n i s lack of perfection, that somewhere there i s a p r i v a t i o n of I n f i n i t e Being and i n s u f f i c i e n t power and knowledge.  Another d e f i n i t i o n would stress the importance  of the Relationship of Law  or the Bond of Love between God  and man.  In the experience of God's People, some aspects of  s i n are:  i d o l a t r y , lack of mercy, i n j u s t i c e , breach of the  natural law, d i s b e l i e f i n C h r i s t , lack of w i l l , lack of responsibility. The term O r i g i n a l Sin was  examined—here the d e f i n i t i o n  of the word sin might be "the purposeful disobedience of a creature to the known w i l l of God."  Sin then can be the  breaking of a r e l i g i o u s law or moral p r i n c i p l e , through a w i l f u l act. The  s i n of pride appears to be the ultimate source  or o r i g i n of s i n , just as the v i r t u e of charity or love i s the p r i n c i p l e of s a n c t i t y . There are many possible d e f i n i t i o n s of s i n .  To the  writer, a more general d e f i n i t i o n would seem useful therefore.  ^ . L . Cross, The Oxford Dictionary of the C h r i s t i a n Church, p. 1260. St. Augustine opposed to the Manichean doctrine the Platonic view that s i n was i n essence p r i v a t i v e (Privatio Boni).  - 25 the aim of the saint i s undoubtedly union with God. S i n , then, must be a movement i n the opposite d i r e c t i o n — a movement away from God.  In other words, where there i s s i n , there i s  the absence of perfect harmony with God. The main theme of the Espurgatoire de Seint Patriz i n the following chapter i s the theme of s i n .  The variations  on that theme i n c l u d e — t h e results of s i n , the avoidance o f s i n , the r e j e c t i o n of s i n .  CHAPTER I I I THE PURGATOIRE DE SEINT PATRIZ Folklore, legend and the miraculous are strangelyinterwoven with history i n the various l i v e s of Saint Patrick. Patrick was born about 3 ^ 9 A.D. and died i n 461 A.D.  Several  countries have claimed to be h i s country of o r i g i n . The sources which scholars have used to e s t a b l i s h his i d e n t i t y are three-fold, of twenty-five  ( l ) The Confession,  consisting  short chapters written i n L a t i n . The  authenticity o f t h i s document i s usually accepted. L e t t e r to C o r o t i c u s — a n  (2) The  appeal to the l a t t e r , a robber baron  and his s o l d i e r s , some of whom were C h r i s t i a n s , to put an end to t h e i r crimes and to return certain baptized women, who had been captured  i n a r a i d i n Northern Ireland. ( 3 )  The L o r i c a — a n I r i s h hymn or verbal charm invoking the protection o f God against the dark forces of e v i l .  There  are two ancient biographies, one by Bishop Tirechan, probably around 670 A.D., and the other i s Muirchu's L i f e of St. Patrick. Patrick seems to have been captured  as a young man  by p i r a t e s , and was sold as a slave i n Ireland.  He spent  about seven years i n Ireland, tending his master's sheep. prayed and meditated i n the woods and on the h i l l - s i d e s . one day, he heard a voice bidding him return home. - 26 -  He Then  A ship  - 27 was  waiting f o r him  at the coast, i f he hastened.  proceeded to search f o r the ship and found one.  Patrick He may  studied with the well-known Martin of Tours i n Gaul. age  of t h i r t y , he had  a v i s i o n , i n which he was  to preach the Gospel i n Ireland. pagans, Sun  and F i r e Worshippers.  of superstition But  Patrick  The  full  all-powerful.  an opportunity to observe the I r i s h He had  noticed t h e i r  His policy seems to have been to speak to  chieftains f i r s t .  When the c h i e f t a i n of the clan had  converted, h i s followers would imitate his exanple. he t r i e d to incorporate t h e i r customs into did not  the  c a l l e d upon  Their r e l i g i o n was  during h i s long period of c a p t i v i t y . clannishness.  At  I r i s h were at t h i s time  and magic, t h e i r Druid p r i e s t s  had had  have  the  been Also,  Christianity—he  destroy t h e i r i d o l s or remove t h e i r stone p i l l a r s .  Instead, sacred names or symbols of C h r i s t i a n i t y were inscribed upon them.  Christian Churches, schools and monasteries soon  appeared. It i s probable that the c o n f l i c t between Druidism C h r i s t i a n i t y lasted many centuries. power of Patrick's he was  Legend has i t that  opponents, the Druids, was  and  the  so great that  obliged, i n spite of the sweetness of his character,  to curse t h e i r f e r t i l e lands, which thereupon became dismal bogs, t h e i r r i v e r s , so that they produced no more f i s h ,  1  and  In L e s l i e Shane's "The Script of Jonathon Swift and Other Essays," (London, 1932) the author meets an old I r i s h fisherman who t e l l s him about the legends of the lake, Lough Derg, the s i t e of St. Patrick's Purgatory " i n a soft and  - 2B -  t h e i r very k e t t l e s , so that no amount of f i r e could make them b o i l . According to another myth, St. Patrick was successful i n banning the snakes from I r e l a n d .  x  Indeed, i n the Middle  Ages, there were three legends, which made a deep impression upon the minds of men:  the Story of the Wandering Jew, the  Story of Prester John, and the legend of St. Patrick's Purgatory.  The l a t t e r was known everywhere i n Europe after  the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland i n the Twelfth Century. The operative word i n the t i t l e of Marie de France's work, St. Patrick's Purgatory i s Purgatory.  This p a r t i c u l a r  Purgatory i s on Station Island i n Lough Dearg i n Donegal. In Marie de France's version of St. Patrick's Purgatory, the saint had a v i s i o n i n which the Almighty promised a plenary indulgence to any mortal sinner who might f u l f i l certain s t i p u l a t e d conditions.  These were that he should  t r u l y repent of h i s sins, confess them and celebrate High  s i b i l a n t English with a C e l t i c syntax." The author writes: "And running into the lake was the Derg River, through which St. Patrick had waded by stepping stones. On one occasion, he mistook a basking salmon f o r a safe stone and stepped on h i s back. As the f i s h s l i d from under him, the Saint uttered a curse which resulted i n no salmon returning to the lake during the C h r i s t i a n Era." 0n one occasion, the Saint had chained a monster serpent i n Lough Dilveen, one of the seven lakes of the Gaultie Mountains, t e l l i n g him to remain there u n t i l Monday. So every Monday morning the serpent c a l l s out i n I r i s h : " I t ' s a long Monday, Patrick." x  - 29 Communion.  I f h i s f a i t h were s u f f i c i e n t l y strong, he would  then be allowed to enter a cavern, l a t e r to be known as S t . Patrick's Purgatory, and be shown the tortures of the damned i n H e l l and the b l i s s of the redeemed i n the t e r r e s t r i a l paradise.  He would then return to earth.  Access to S t . Patrick's Purgatory could only be authorised by the Archbishop of the diocese i n which the sinner l i v e d .  At f i r s t , the Archbishop would attempt to  dissuade the sinner from entering the Purgatory.  However, i f  the sinner i n s i s t e d that he make the descent to the cavern, the Archbishop would give him a l e t t e r , addressed to the Prior of the Abbey Church.  The p r i o r i n h i s turn, would t r y to  persuade the sinner not to proceed with his plan.  I f the  sinner should s t i l l wish to enter Purgatory, he would be asked to spend f i f t e e n days i n prayer and f a s t i n g before h i s departure.  A priest would sprinkle with Holy Water the  sinner who had heard mass and celebrated Holy Communion.  The  sinner would then be accompanied to the gates of Purgatory by a procession of singing monks.  The p r i o r reminded the  sinner once more that many who had entered the gates of Purgatory had not returned.  Their f a i t h had not been strong  enough to sustain them. In the Espurgatoire de Seint P a t r i z , a certain I r i s h knight, Owen by name, who l i v e d during the reign of King Etienne, confessed h i s sins to the Archbishop of the diocese, where the Purgatory was situated.  He was severely reproved  - 30 -  f o r h i s sins.  Owen thereupon decided on a descent to St.  Patrick's Purgatory. The knight made h i s way along a subterranean passage, where there was almost complete obscurity. he could d i s t i n g u i s h a pale l i g h t . which a palace was situated.  Soon, however,  He beheld a f i e l d i n  There he was welcomed by  f i f t e e n monks "res e tondu novelement," who were wearing white robes.  The p r i o r who spoke on behalf of the monks,  encouraged Owen to proceed with h i s descent into Purgatory, but warned him that demons would do t h e i r utmost to enslave him.  They would even o f f e r to lead him back to the gates  of Purgatory through which he had entered.  I f the knight  accepted t h e i r o f f e r , he would be l o s t , body and soul.  He  must refuse to l i s t e n to t h e i r promises, menaces and f l a t t e r y . I f he should experience the f r i g h t f u l sufferings, which they i n f l i c t e d on t h e i r victims, he must invoke the name of Jesus. Then, a l l would be w e l l .  Having advised him thus, the monks  departed. Almost immediately, a great host of demons rushed i n amid great noise and confusion. They were hideous creatures. They offered to lead him back to the gates of Purgatory; Owen ignored them.  They then cast him into a f i r e , but he  invoked the name of Jesus and was  saved.  The demons then l e d Owen to a large f i e l d , where the groans and the c r i e s of the tortured could be heard. lay face downwards.  Many  They were nailed to the ground and  - 31 appeared to be s u f f e r i n g great agony.  The demons who went  round whipping them, then attempted to make Owen share the fate of t h e i r victims, but i n vain. The e v i l s p i r i t s dragged Owen o f f to another f i e l d . There he saw sinners l y i n g on t h e i r backs and others l y i n g face downwards. arms.  Serpents c o i l e d around t h e i r necks and t h e i r  Huge dragons were devouring them, toads were tearing  out t h e i r hearts.  The demons whipped t h e i r victims.  sinners were a l l nailed to the ground.  The  The demons t r i e d to  apply the same form of torture to Owen, but he was saved when he invoked the name of Jesus. In the t h i r d f i e l d the sinners were suffering great agony.  Nails had been driven into t h e i r bodies, so that the  bodies appeared covered with them. whipping t h e i r victims as usual.  The demons went around  A c h i l l y i c y wind blew.  So great was the suffering of the victims that they could hardly complain. The devils dragged Owen along to the fourth f i e l d , where the bodies of the sinners were exposed to hot, sulphurous flames.  Some were suspended by t h e i r feet, t h e i r heads  pointing towards the flames.  Other wretched sinners were  suspended by an arm, by the nose, eyes or ears, and other parts of the body.  Molten metals were being poured upon them.  Owen recognised some of h i s former companions among them. The demons, as usual, were s t r i k i n g hard. however, i n the usual manner. injury.  Owen was saved,  The demons could do him no  - 32 And now the demons showed Owen a big wheel to which human beings were suspended.  This instrument of torture was  exposed to sulphurous flames as i t revolved. be made to revolve at a great speed.  The wheel could  The demons seized him  and t i e d him to the wheel, but soon he was freed by invoking the name of Jesus. The demons dragged Owen to a large building where sinners were compelled to bathe i n b o i l i n g l i q u i d s and molten metals.  Some appeared to have only one foot i n the b o i l i n g  l i q u i d , others had a knee covered by i t , while others again were almost completely immersed i n the l i q u i d s .  The plans  of the demons to seize Owen were again thwarted by Owen's prayer to Jesus. Owen's persecutors now l e d the way to a mountain-top where a great assembly of naked people of various ages seemed to be gathered. moment.  They looked as i f they expected death at any  A mighty gust of wind suddenly cast them a l l (demons  and Owen included) into a cold, e v i l - s m e l l i n g stream.  Whenever  the victims t r i e d to reach the banks of the r i v e r , t h e i r persecutors would push them back with t h e i r iron hooks. The demons then dragged Owen along towards the South. Soon they reached a place where flames appeared to r i s e from the ground.  This was a p i t or well, the demons e x p l a i n e d —  indeed, i t was the P i t of H e l l .  Human beings, who appeared  to have caught f i r e , were thrust out of t h i s well, but f e l l i n again, when the flames around t h e i r bodies died down. The  - 33 demons offered once more to escort Owen back to the gates of Purgatory.  He ignored them again.  They seized him and cast  him into the p i t of f i r e so quickly that he almost forgot to invoke the name of Jesus. out of the w e l l . yet  not set eyes.  When he did, the flames l i f t e d him  He then beheld demons, upon whom he had as They informed Owen that the others had l i e d  to h i m — t h i s was not the P i t of H e l l .  They would show him  the r e a l p i t . The demons l e d the way to a deep evil-smelling r i v e r . Flames of sulphur and smoke floated above the water.  A bridge  joined the banks of the r i v e r , but t h i s bridge was slippery, narrow, and i t was high enough to cause extreme giddiness and discomfort to whoever might wish t o cross i t . knight went bravely forward. widened.  The I r i s h  As he advanced, the bridge  He reached the other bank, to the dismay and disgust  of the demons, who r e a l i s e d that Owen had not f a l l e n into the P i t of H e l l and that they could no longer claim him as t h e i r victim. Owen, now freed of the demons, continued on h i s way. He then noticed a magnificent wall with a gate made of precious metals.  The gate appeared t o open before he reached i t and  as he approached, he could smell the sweetest a bright, resplendent l i g h t beyond the gates.  scents, and see He was met by  a procession of archbishops, archdeacons, bishops, abbots and monks, a l l wearing t h e i r i n s i g n i a .  When the singing had ceased,  two Archbishops came forward t o welcome him.  And now he was  - 34 shown t h i s beautiful country, with i t s very bright, resplendent l i g h t .  He could smell the fragrance of f r u i t ,  flowers, plants and t r e e s .  Everywhere, groups of the blessed  (for t h i s was a t e r r e s t r i a l Paradise) could be seen i n happy conversation, t h e i r coloured apparel adding t o the beauty of the scene. Owen was next l e d to the top of a mountain, where he was  shown the portals of the C e l e s t i a l Paradise.  was of a golden hue.  The sky  C e l e s t i a l rays f e l l upon the heads of  a l l those present, including Owen.  The Archbishop explained  that the blessed were a l l nourished there, once a day f o r one hour.  The blessed i n the C e l e s t i a l Paradise were nourished  thus e v e r l a s t i n g l y , however. Owen l a t e r rejoined the f i f t e e n monks, whom he had met on h i s way to Purgatory.  They rejoiced at seeing him  again, but t o l d him to hasten, f o r i t was already daylight i n the world above and the p r i o r of the abbey church would soon unlock the gate.  Owen remained at the abbey f o r f i f t e e n  more days i n order to fast and to pray.  Having consigned h i s  adventures to writing, he l a t e r l e f t f o r Jerusalem as a crusader and eventually returned to King Etienne's court. The story of Owen s adventures does not conclude T  Marie's version of the Espurgatoire de Seint P a t r i z .  While  Owen was at King Etienne's court, a certain Gervais, an abbot of Louth (Luda), of the C i s t e r c i a n Order, obtained permission from the King to b u i l d an abbey i n Ireland. A monk, G i l b e r t ,  - 35 was  entrusted with the supervision of t h i s work.  When G i l b e r t  pointed out that he knew no I r i s h , King Etienne provided him with an i n t e r p r e t e r — t h e I r i s h knight Owen.  The knight Owen  and G i l b e r t were together f o r two and a h a l f years.  On one  occasion., during that period Owen t o l d G i l b e r t and his monks ;  about h i s adventures i n St. Patrick's Purgatory.  Later, i n  England, G i l b e r t happened to be r e l a t i n g Owen's adventures to an audience of monks, when one of them questioned the r e a l i t y of the apparitions.  Perhaps, t h i s member suggested,  what Owen had seen had been a v i s i o n . be corporeal?  How could these beings  With a view to d i s p e l l i n g such doubts, G i l b e r t  t o l d the story about the monk i n his own Order, who l e d such a s a i n t l y l i f e that the demons abducted him.  When the monk  returned a f t e r three days and three nights, i t was evident that he had been i l l - t r e a t e d , f o r on his body were t e r r i b l e gashes and wounds which never healed. evil spirits.  Lucien F o u l e t  1  This was the work of  points out that the object of  t h i s story was to show how G i l b e r t himself saw the result of the demons' work—that i s , the gashes and wounds. believing.  Seeing i s  Perhaps G i l b e r t ' s audience, i f they believed that  he had seen the monk's gashes and wounds, would also believe that Owen had a c t u a l l y seen demons and tortured souls i n  Lucien Foulet, "Marie de France et l a legende du Purgatoire de Saint P a t r i c e , " Romanische Forschungen, XXII, (1908), p. 610.  - 36 corporeal form.  1 p  Some of these tortured souls had even  been recognised by Owen. Then Marie de France mentions two abbots, who they knew several men, returned.  who  claimed  had entered the Purgatory but never  Archbishop Florentianus t e s t i f i e d that he too,  knew c e r t a i n sinners who  had not returned, and a few who  had  returned, but appeared i l l and exhausted as a r e s u l t of t h e i r adventures i n Purgatory.  They had surely atoned f o r t h e i r  sins. Next the Archbishop t o l d the story about the to whom naked women had appeared. demons. who  tempted St. Anthony i n the desert.  the Archbishop,  When t h i s request was granted  by  the Chaplain t o l d the story about the demons  stole food from a peasant, who  had no bread to give two c l e r k s . well-stocked.  This g i r l was none  A Chaplain intervened and asked i f  he might r e l a t e a story.  who  These were, of course,  (We are reminded here of the b e a u t i f u l f e l l a h g i r l  other than the Devil.)  who  hermit,  had sworn on oath, that he In f a c t , h i s larder was  This i s followed by the story of the p r i e s t ,  was overcome by the beauty of the young g i r l whom he had  adopted.  Quite aware of the f a c t , however, that the demons  ' Referring to St. Paul's cataclysmic experience on the road to Damascus, Kent i n The Works and the Teachings of the Apostles, p. 76, states: "Greek and Norman, as well as Jew, then f i r m l y believed that the s p i r i t of the departed could become v i s i b l e to the human eye and exert a powerful influence i n the a f f a i r s of men." Marie de France i n her t h e o l o g i c a l introduction also mentions St. Gregory's reference to v i s i o n s of corporeal souls (line 180).  -  3 7  -  were t r y i n g t o lead him astray, t h i s p r i e s t decided at the l a s t moment not to seduce the young g i r l .  Like Origen, he  may have been impressed by the words of Jesus i n Matthew 19, 12, f o r he made himself a eunuch " f o r the Kingdom of Heaven's sake." The themes of s a i n t l i n e s s and of s i n are interwoven with consummate s k i l l i n the Espurgatoire de Seint P a t r i z . The sections of the narratives, which describe the l i f e of St. Patrick, the t e r r e s t r i a l Paradise and the C e l e s t i a l Paradise, deal with the theme of s a i n t l i n e s s . In the Espurgatoire. the usual c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of s a i n t l i n e s s are attributed t o St. Patrick (190-382). fu r e l i g i u s e ber."  "Mult  The r e f u s a l of the I r i s h t o be converted  to C h r i s t i a n i t y i s a cause of great sorrow t o the saint. Nuit et jour f u en oraisuris, En v i e i l l e s , en a f f l i c c i u n s , En jeunes e en t r i s t u r , Pur requerre nostre seignur, Del pueple, qu'on eust merci. The saint loves h i s fellow-men. and indulges i n acts of self-abasement.  He prays and fasts God appears t o him  i n a V i s i o n , gives him a Bible and s t a f f and shows him the Cave of the Purgatory. Seint P a t r i z appears to be conscientious. He sees to  i t that those who return from Purgatory consign t h e i r  adventures t o w r i t i n g . The other sections of 1 Espurgatoire which handle the !  theme of s a i n t l i n e s s are to be found i n l i n e s 1520-18"70.  - 38 In the t e r r e s t r i a l Paradise the l i g h t i s brighter than the l i g h t of the sun shining on our earth.  A wonderful  fragrance emanates from f r u i t , flowers, plants and t r e e s . When Owen f i r s t reaches the t e r r e s t r i a l Paradise, he notices a magnificent wall i n front of him and then a door made of precious  metals:  Les merveilles qui del mur sunt Ne purreit nuls cunter ne dire Ne l'ovraigne ne l a matire! Une porte a e l mur vene, Bien l'a. de l o i n z aparceue. (De) preeiiis metals f u f a i t e E gloriusement p u r t r a i t e . |t  The saints wear the same apparel as on earth, displaying the i n s i g n i a of t h e i r rank or o f f i c e .  Their clothes are c o l o u r f u l .  Some of the saints are even crowned l i k e kings. In the French text of Manuscript University, EE.6.77,  1  C. of Cambridge  (probably second h a l f of the 13th  Century), the anonymous author's descriptions of the coloured apparel, precious stones and g l i t t e r i n g gold are characterized by a somewhat r i c h e r ornamentation.  However, Marie's version  provides us with a s i m i l a r d e s c r i p t i o n . While i t i s true that Marie i s here describing a t e r r e s t r i a l and not a c e l e s t i a l paradise, i t would seem strange that the b l i s s of even a t e r r e s t r i a l paradise o f s i n l e s s or almost s i n l e s s beings should be described at a l l , in terms of material wealth.  Are not many of the objects  1 See "Etude sur l e Purgatoire de Saint Patrice" (Amsterdam, P a r i s , 1927), C M . Van der Zanden, l i n e s 13501360, also 1195-1200. F  A  - 39 d e s c r i b e d — r i c h apparel, precious stones, i n s i g n i a of  rank—  just what the s a i n t l y souls shunned, to some extent, during t h e i r l i f e on earth, so that t h e i r souls should be saved i n the l i f e to come?  It i s d i f f i c u l t  not to see i n Marie's  description of the t e r r e s t r i a l paradise an a l l e g o r i c a l t r e a t ment of something s p i r i t u a l .  Only thus can the b l i s s of  heaven be revealed to us mortals!  Only thus can s a i n t l i n e s s  be represented. In 1'Espurgatoire, there i s l i t t l e information about the C e l e s t i a l Paradise.  Owen was shown only the portals of  the C e l e s t i a l Paradise.  I t would seem that on the occasion  of h i s v i s i t to the t e r r e s t r i a l paradise, the Ineffable Presence made i t s e l f f e l t f o r one hour.  The heads of a l l  those present were, as i t were, bathed i n the rays of the sun. The grace of the Lord streamed down upon the heads of a l l those who were present.  Owen f e l t such b l i s s , that he did  not know whether he were a l i v e or dead. This section dealing with t e r r e s t r i a l paradise and c e l e s t i a l paradise would seem to continue the e a r l i e r section, describing the l i f e of St. Patrick i n that the theme i s s a i n t l i n e s s — t h e saint on earth and the saint i n the t e r r e s t r i a l paradise.  Just as St. Patrick desires union with God,  so do  the blessed i n t e r r e s t r i a l paradise long f o r a complete union with  God. The section on St. Patrick introduces, at an early  stage i n the poem, the element of the miraculous.  If a  - 40 miracle i s , by d e f i n i t i o n , an action or event due to an act of God,  then c l e a r l y the existence of Saint Patrick's Purgatory  i s a miracle. Purgatory.  But other miracles follow when Owen v i s i t s the  When he i s i n danger, he has only to invoke the  name of Jesus to be saved. S a i n t l i n e s s , although i t i s one of the themes of the Espurgatoire de Seint Patriz i s not the most important theme i n t h i s narrative poem.  Had the Espurgatoire been a story  mainly about Saints, then i t would have ended a f t e r Owen's adventures or possibly with Owen i n the presence of a B e a t i f i c V i s i o n , i . e . the v i s i o n of a Divine Being i n heaven which, according to C h r i s t i a n theology, i s the f i n a l destiny of the redeemed.  But the fact remains that the saints i n the  t e r r e s t r i a l paradise themselves behold only the portals of the C e l e s t i a l Paradise and the C e l e s t i a l rays f a l l upon the heads of those i n the t e r r e s t r i a l paradise f o r one hour only every day.  Owen cannot claim to have experienced the B e a t i f i c  Vision. The poem deals mainly with the theme of sin—Owen, the sinner, f o r instance, or again, sinners i n Purgatory and the confirmed sinners i n H e l l . The story of Owen's adventures i s followed by others where the element of the miraculous or the supernatural i s p r e s e n t — f o r example, the story of the monk whose wounds would not heal a f t e r he had been abducted and i l l - t r e a t e d by demons, or the story of the hermit, whom the d e v i l s , i n the guise of  - 41 naked women, t r i e d t o seduce.  However, the most common  theme—the one which i s constantly recurring, i s that of s i n , the opportunity to s i n , the temptations of s i n , the f i g h t against s i n , and i t s f i n a l r e j e c t i o n . In the case of Owen, too, i n Purgatory the theme i s about the r e j e c t i o n of temptation, the r e j e c t i o n of s i n . Owen was g u i l t y of mortal s i n . "Mult aveit ovre' cuntre Deu en grant cruelte." (Line 513-514.)  Owen's s i n i s  not a s p e c i f i c s i n — i n d e e d the exact nature of the sins of the sufferers i n Purgatory i s never indicated.  (The only  occasion on which a s p e c i f i c s i n i s mentioned i s when the old Irishman confesses to having committed f i v e murders and injured several people, then states that he did not know t h i s was a mortal s i n l ) Owen has made up h i s mind t o atone f o r his sins by descending into Saint Patrick's Purgatory.  He shows determina-  t i o n , courage and strength of w i l l . De f e i e de bone esperance, E de j u s t i c e e de creance Per ieestes vertuz sanz f a i l l e Veintra l e diable en b a t a i l l e . (Lines 657-660) The following passage which also l i s t s some of Owen's virtues shows a certain s i m i l a r i t y with St. Paul's E p i s t l e s to the Ephesians, Chapter V I .  1  "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the d e v i l . Stand, therefore, having your l o i n s g i r t about with t r u t h , and having on the breast-plate of righteousness— Above a l l , taking the shield of f a i t h , and the sword of the s p i r i t , which i s the word of God." ( E p i s t l e of St. Paul t o the Ephesians, Chapter VI.)  - 42 Halberc de j u s t i c e out vestu Per quei l e cors out defendu De l'engin de ses enemis E l'escu de fiance out p r i s j Healme out f a i t de ferme creance I»'altre armeiire d'esperance Espee a del seint e s p i r i t . ?  (Lines 799-305) Owen's adventures show how  s i n can be expiated.  He  i s then i n a p o s i t i o n to j o i n temporarily the Saints i n the Terrestrial  Paradise.  Lucien Foulet i s of the opinion that Marie de France's o r i g i n a l text, which she translated from the L a t i n of Henri de S a l t r e y into French, contained who  the story about the Irishman,  had committed several murders, the t h e o l o g i c a l introduction,  the story of Owen, the testimony of G i l b e r t de Louth (Luda) and the epilogue contained  of Henry of S a l t r e y .  The o r i g i n a l also  (a) the testimony of Archbishop Florentianus and  the  story about the f i r s t hermit (including that about the p r i e s t and the young g i r l ) and  (b) the second hermit's story about  the demon and the v i c t u a l s .  Foulet holds that t h i s s e l e c t i o n ,  making up the o r i g i n a l text, shows that Marie de France's main i n t e r e s t was  i n the r e l a t i o n of s t o r i e s "Ce n'est pas  l a theologie qui l ' a a t t i r e e a 1'oeuvre; ce qu'elle a vu dans son t r a i t e c ' e s t une ;  tres interessante  histoire."  x  Certainly, these s t o r i e s are entertaining.  In the  story of Owen's adventures the author leads us breathlessly from one f i e l d of torture to the next.  Foulet, op. c i t .  Wherever the demons  - 43 are to be found there i s noise and confusion.  No one could  disagree with M. Lucien Foulet, when he claims that Marie interested i n the t e l l i n g of t a l e s .  Whether she was  was  mainly  interested ('avant t o u t ) i n t h i s , i s another matter. 1  What then i s the Espurgatoire about? future l i f e .  To avoid s i n i n t h i s world and to seek salvation  i n the next was the chief concern of man Man  I t i s about the  i n the Middle Ages.  did not believe i n the fixedness of Nature's laws, hence  his great interest i n miracles and wonders of a l l kinds. In a previous chapter, i t has been shown that sin and a b e l i e f i n God are intimately connected.  I f theology i s  defined as the study of God and the r e l a t i o n s between God  and  the Universe, then the Espurgatoire de Seint Patriz i s a narrative poem, which t r e a t s of t h e o l o g i c a l problems. The aim of the Espurgatoire i s to edify ( i n L a t i n — to b u i l d — a e d i f i c a r e ) that i s , to instruct or improve morally or s p i r i t u a l l y . Prologue).  (See l i n e s 17-20.  1  Also l i n e s 26-30,  2  Lines 31-188 form the theological introduction.  Ja s e i t i^o que jo desir De f a i r e a grant p r o f i t venir Plusurs genz e l e s amender E s e r v i r Deu plus e duter. »  'Pur qo que j'en a i entendu A i jo vers Deu greignur amur De Deu s e r v i r mun creatur Pur quei je v o l d r a i a o v r i r Ceste escripture e descuvrir.  - 44 Reference must f i r s t be made, however, to St. Gregory, who wrote about the future l i f e i n his Dialogues. Book IV.  Marie  appears to be f a m i l i a r with some of h i s writings. St.  Gregory analyses c a r e f u l l y h i s own experiences  and s p i r i t u a l states.  He i s very conscious of the e f f e c t s  of O r i g i n a l S i n and understands  the value of weakness and  temptation f o r s p i r i t u a l progress. The term "compunccion" (line 41, Marie de France's Espurgatoire) referred i n C h r i s t i a n vocabulary to a pain of the s p i r i t .  We suffer from the c o n f l i c t a r i s i n g , on the one  hand, from the existence of s i n and the tendency to s i n , and, on the other hand, from the existence of our desire f o r God and even our possession of God.  The world d u l l s our senses,  but God can make His Presence f e l t .  This action of God,  "compunccion" i s exerted through t r i b u l a t i o n , suffering, s i n and temptation.  God gives the demon permission to tempt man  because of the benefits to man r e s u l t i n g from t h i s temptation. The l a t t e r makes us aware of our weaknesses and leads to the p u r i f i c a t i o n of our intentions.  I t i s a cure f o r pride: God  i s prepared to incur the r i s k involved, f o r temptation, and even s i n , are l e s s grave than pride. The C h r i s t i a n l i f e i s conceived of as a l i f e of detachment from a world of s i n and an intense desire f o r God. Man's egoism must be checked, controlled and put to rout. S t . Gregory r e c a l l s the "weight" that belongs to a changing, mortal world, the "gravity" which t i e s us down to earth (hence our  - 45 "grave s i n s " ) .  Gravity i s a sign of corruption.  By "inquietudo"  he means lack of t r a n q u i l l i t y or peace. In the t h e o l o g i c a l introduction to the Espurgatoire. Marie r e f e r s twice to St; Gregory and once to St. Augustine. She states that there i s much i n the writings of St. Gregory to t e r r i f y sinners and encourage the pious to further piety. When death occurs, angels are present, who guide the souls of the righteous to t h e i r resting-places, but d e v i l s subject those of the wicked to various forms of t o r t u r e .  It is  granted to some souls, before they separate from the body, to see what w i l l b e f a l l them l a t e r . or h e a r t h e voice of t h e i r conscience important revelations.  These souls see v i s i o n s , or are the object of  Then they return among the l i v i n g ,  where they t e l l t h e i r story.  These s t o r i e s concern the  s u f f e r i n g of sinners and the happiness of the blessed and are about material objects or b o d i e s — r i v e r s , flames, bridges, black or white men.  They describe the manner i n which tormented  souls are dragged about, beaten or hanged.  Many have t r i e d  to discover how the soul separates from the body, where i t goes, what i t f i n d s , but perhaps there are more grounds f o r fearing than f o r asking questions, f o r a l l t h i s i s hidden i n mystery.  We only know that the separation of body and soul  takes place.  However, to the good man, no e v i l can happen.  His w i l l be l i f e everlasting. According to St. Augustine, the souls of confirmed sinners and the souls of the righteous w i l l be assigned  - 46 d i f f e r e n t places according to whether they are to rest i n peace or suffer torments.  Some souls have been separated f o r  some time from the bodies they inhabited and have returned among the l i v i n g at God's request.  Thus a mortal has been  known t o state that he saw things of the s p i r i t i n a material form. When Owen i s i n the "Paradis Terrestre" the Archbishops approach him i n order to explain everything: Des choses que veti avez Nous dirons l a segnefiance. There i s a reference t o Adam's s i n or the F a l l . Aneire perdit l a c l a r t e ^ Del c i e l par sa maleurte'. (Lines 1707-170S) We are a l l sinners then, the Archbishops t e l l Owen, but we had f a i t h i n C h r i s t , we were baptized and reached the T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise by the grace of God.  We had to pass  through Purgatory, as you did, to expiate our s i n s .  We were  punished, some more than others, according to the gravity of the s i n committed.  A l l those who suffer i n Purgatory with  the exception of those i n the "Puz d'enfer" w i l l r e j o i n t h e i r f r i e n d s i n the T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise.  No one knows, however,  how long he w i l l remain i n Purgatory, before being granted access to the T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise.  1  In the same way, no one  knows how long we s h a l l remain i n T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise before Cf Pascal, "La peine du purgatoire l a plus grande est l ' i n c e r t i t u d e du jugement" (Le Deus AbsconditusJ. Pensee 767. Sixieme chapitre. La Morale Chretienne. Ed. Guersant, 1957.  - 47 we are allowed entry into the C e l e s t i a l Paradise.  The soul  longs f o r e t e r n i t y i n Heaven (or union with God).  The notion  of eternity, as opposed to time, i s c l o s e l y connected to that of the s a l v a t i o n of the soul. The Espurgatoire i s to some extent a propagandist piece of l i t e r a t u r e , f o r Henri de Saltrey was working f o r the propagation of c e r t a i n ideas, doctrines and p r a c t i c e s , which would benefit the C i s t e r c i a n Order, i n p a r t i c u l a r , and the Roman Catholic Church i n general.  When asked by King Etienne  to accompany Gilbert to Ireland, as an interpreter, Owen r e p l i e d that he would be very happy to serve the C i s t e r c i a n s , who, he had noticed, enjoyed greater glory i n the other world than other people.  Secondly, the f i f t e e n monks described as  "divine messengers" ( l i n e 626) are, undoubtedly, C i s t e r c i a n s . Res e tundu novellement Blanz vestemeinz orent vestuz. In the Espurgatoire, these monks give Owen t h e i r blessing and some useful advice before his departure to expiate h i s sins. On h i s return they welcome him. Theirs i s an important i n the story of Owen's  role  adventures.  CM. van der Zanden has pointed out that such 1  propaganda i s unnecessary, when there i s no corruption or i n e f f i c i e n c y i n an Order.  I t would seem that towards the end  of the Twelfth Century, the C i s t e r c i a n Order had acquired much wealth and land.  Unfortunately, hypocrisy, avarice and cupidity  / *C.M. van der Zanden, Le Purgatoire de Seint Patriz (Etude sur l e Purgatoire de Seint P a t r i z ) , Paris: Amsterdam, 1927, p. 71.  48 had also increased. Giraldus Cambrensis^  (Opera. V o l . IV,  p. XIV) writes: Of the great monastic bodies then established in every corner of i t (England) by f a r the most numerous, i n f l u e n t i a l and important were the Benedictines: next to them were the Cluniacs and l a s t of a l l , though at that time (end of Twelfth Century) perhaps the most active and unscrupulous, were the C i s t e r c i a n s . In Marie de France's version, however, the propagandist aspect i s only a small part of the whole, only one small facet of the gem.  The general aim i s as already stated, to b u i l d  (aedificare) to instruct and improve morally and s p i r i t u a l l y . The Cistercians receive high praise.  On the other hand, " l i  c l o i s t r i e r " are urged to think more often of " l e s peines enfernals"---only thus can they understand that they have l i t t l e reason f o r complaining about t h e i r hard l i f e .  Marie's  Prologue makes i t quite clear that she i s writing f o r " l a simple gent" and the Epilogue also informs us that the whole Espurgatoire i s f o r " l a i e gent et cuvenable." An important section i n the Homily i s from l i n e 1458.  1433-  In t h i s passage, i t i s urged that we pray f o r the dead,  that masses be said f o r them, that we should give alms and that we perform works of devotion. in Purgatory expiate t h e i r sins. Century man  This w i l l help the sinners  The ideas of t h i s Twelfth  (Henri de S a l t r e y ) , i f they were h i s , were l a t e r  Giraldus Cambrensis Opera, Ed. J . Brewer. Gt. B r i t a i n Public Record Office Publications. Published by the authority of the lords commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, under the direction of the master of the r o l l s . (London: Longman & Co. 1861-91)• Rerum Britannicorum medii aevi scriptores or Chronicles and Memorials of Gt. B r i t a i n and Ireland during the Middle Ages (No. 21).  - 49 to evolve into the Dogma of the P u r i f i c a t i o n of Sinners and the Dogma of the E f f i c i e n c y of Prayers f o r the Dead ( l a i d down at the sdxth session of the Council of Trent, 1547). It must be remembered that the service of commemoration of the dead i s offered not only f o r the dead, but also f o r sinners.  According t o Catholic Doctrine, i t i s only a matter  of time before the l i v i n g enter the state of Purgatory. i s but a thing delayed.  Death  The mass f o r the Dead, then, i s one  more instance of the fact that the Mass has i t s roots i n F e l l o w s h i p — i n union with C h r i s t , the Son of God, and our fellow man. In 1'Espurgatoire de Seint P a t r i z , there appear to be two methods of dealing with s i n or the r e s u l t s of s i n : 1.  Voluntary action such as Owen's.  He wishes to  expiate h i s sins now, to have fewer to expiate a f t e r death (no matter what the Archbishops and priors say).  The origins  of t h i s method of dealing with s i n are to be found i n asceticism. 2.  The intervention of others.  Prayers, masses, alms,  good works on earth may a l l e v i a t e the s u f f e r i n g of the souls i n Purgatory.  There are two references i n the Espurgatoire  to t h i s method of combating s i n . One i s i n the Homily (lines 1400-1484), the other i s i n Archbishop's speech (lines 17591764).  - 50 Marie de France writes i n the f i r s t l i n e to the Prologue:  " A l nun de Deu, qui od nus s e i t , " and i n the l a s t  two l i n e s to the Epilogue:  "Or preium Dieu que par sa grace  De nos pechiez mundes nus face."  The tone of the whole  narrative poem i s set from the f i r s t l i n e and Marie again wishes t o remind us o f her intentions i n the l a s t two l i n e s of the Epilogue.  Her intentions or aims are, of course, to  edify ("amender l a simple gent"), and the whole poem i s i n tended f o r " l a i e gent et cuvenables." From the beginning, i t i s clear that Marie's i s a r e l i g i o u s attitude, and that she i s interested i n theological problems.  Indeed, i n the course of the Espurgatoire she t  handles problems concerning the Holy Orders (the monks are admonished i n the Homily f o r not thinking enough of " l e s peines enfernals" and f o r complaining about t h e i r hard l i f e ) , problems connected to Baptism (Are not the saints i n the T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise there p a r t l y because they were baptised?), and problems related to Penance—confession, " s a t i s f a c c i u n " and absolution ( i n that order).  In other words, Marie has  written about three out of the seven Roman Catholic Holy Orders, Baptism, and Penance.  Sacraments-  Marie's introduction i s  theological and she appears to be acquainted with the works of St. Gregory and St. Augustine. concepts are discussed:  The following theological  Purgatory, T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise,  E t e r n i t y ( i n Purgatory and T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise), the F a l l and Grace.  There i s a reference to the Holy Ghost.  Marie's  - 51 interest i n theology i s manifest i n the theological i n t r o duction and the Archbishop's speech i n T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise, as i t i s i n the Homily and i n the b i b l i c a l language to be found i n l i n e s 799-805. The tone of the poem i s serious as one might expect i n a narrative of t h i s kind.  The poem i s considered to be  a f a i t h f u l reproduction of the o r i g i n a l and t h i s would to some extent account f o r the serious tone.  But here and there,  Marie's personality seems to come through the t r a n s l a t i o n , and the impression l e f t on such occasions i s also one of tenseness and seriousness. For example, Marie relates the story of the o l d Irishman who committed  f i v e murders and  wounded several people without knowing t h i s was a mortal s i n . The touch of humour i n t h i s episode seems to have escaped Marie—she appears to relate t h i s episode without the f l i c k e r of a smile. de Marie.  Foulet writes:  "L'esprit est absent des r e c i t s  E l l e conte toujours avec gravite' et presque avec  candeur."  1  The writer of t h i s thesis believes that M. Foulet's  statement i s true of the Espurgatoire. the  I f other versions of  Espurgatoire are compared with Marie's, the difference  can be observed.  For example, the Cambridge Manuscript  Ee.6.11 (C) of the Espurgatoire—probably a thirteenth Century document, has the following touches of humour: (a)  St. Patrick f a l l s asleep i n front of the a l t a r  Foulet, op. c i t . , p.  626.  -  5  2-  (then he has h i s V i s i o n i n a dream). (b)  The  description of the sinners, s u f f e r i n g i n the  t h i r d f i e l d , who En Ja Ke Si  are " c l o u f i c h i e s " : tut l e mund n'ad a i g u i l l e t t e ne s e i t ele s i greslette surmettre l e puissez akun clou ne tucheisez. (Lines  707-712)  There i s a lightness of touch and a certain amount of charm i n t h i s description (partly because of the no  doubtl). Marie's version reads:E jurent adenz en envers, F i c h i e z en t e r r e od clous de f e r s . Ardanz, des chies des i qu'as piez, Par tuz l e s membres sunt f i c h i e z S i espes que nuls n ' i raettreit Sin dei qu'a clou n ' i tuchereit. (Lines 1 This i s a simple and straightforward Marie was  original.  Curtius has  0  3  9  -  1  0  description.  i n sympathy with the s p i r i t of the L a t i n  She wished to show her respect f o r the o r i g i n a l  version of the monk H.,  and  diminutives,  said:  hence the f a i t h f u l reproduction.  "Much of what we  simply monastic."  x  E.  c a l l C h r i s t i a n i s purely  According to Jean LeClercq, "More  than any other C h r i s t i a n s and men  of l e t t e r s , the monks f e e l  a constant urge to transcend b e l l e s - l e t t r e s i n order to safeguard the primacy of the  spiritual."  2  -42. Curtius, European L i t e r a t u r e and the L a t i n Middle Ages (New York: Trans. W i l l a r d R. Trask, 1 9 5 3 ) , p. 5 1 5 . 2  God,  Jean LeClercq:,. The Love of Learning and the Desire f o r A Mentor Omega Book, New American Library, 1 9 6 2 , p. 2 5  - 53 Sometimes what you say i s more important than how you say i t .  The message i s what matters.  Some writers, i t  i s true, l i k e St. Bernard, could combine l i t e r a r y genius with holiness, but there must have been many l i k e Henri de Saltrey, who were not l i t e r a r y geniuses, but who,  nevertheless, wrote  accounts which impressed t h e i r contemporaries.  Marie seems  to have f e l t that Henri's attitude should be respected. Lucien Foulet believes that Marie did not think of the Espurgatoire as (a) a story of an adventure, followed by (b) a Theological J u s t i f i c a t i o n .  " E l l e n'en a nullement  soupgonne'le caractere composite."  1  Marie, according to  Foulet, thought the,entire work the production of Henri de Saltrey.  She did not know that some of the s t o r i e s towards  the end of the poem had been added by various "copistes" i n the L a t i n versions. I f Marie did look upon the work as a whole and not as a somewhat loosely connected selection of narratives, then c l e a r l y she must have thought that the work s t i l l had some kind of unity.  The theme, which gives Marie's Espurgatoire de  Seint P a t r i z unity i s , of course, the theme of s i n .  The  theme of s a i n t l i n e s s i s a secondary one, otherwise the Espurgatoire might have ended with a B e a t i f i c Vision a f t e r Owen's adventures, whereas only the portals of C e l e s t i a l Paradise are revealed to Owen and the saints of T e r r e s t r i a l  Foulet, op. c i t . , p. 623  - 54 Paradise. Marie may show how  have thought that the o r i g i n a l wished to  Owen did, i n point of f a c t , lead a quiet, s i n l e s s  existence a f t e r h i s return from Purgatory u n t i l h i s death. The story of the f i r s t hermit involves temptation and  the  p o s s i b i l i t y of s i n (the appearance of demons as naked women). The  second hermit's story of " l e v i l e i n qui se parjura,"  also t r e a t s of the theme of s i n .  F i n a l l y , the story of the  P r i e s t and the young g i r l c e r t a i n l y has temptation and s i n as i t s main theme.  The demons' plans are always thwarted,  however. The Espurgatoire thus reveals a constant with s i n and the r e s u l t s of s i n . specific.  preoccupation  Those sins are not usually  I t i s to Marie's Fables that we must turn to  discover more about s p e c i f i c s i n s .  CHAPTER IV THE FABLES The  aim of t h i s chapter i s , f i r s t , to attempt to  provide a c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of Marie de France's Fables,  and  secondly, to give a f a i r l y detailed description of those fables, where certain s p e c i f i c sins are the main theme. The  systematic arrangement of fables i n t o classes  and  groups leaves much to be desired, i f only because a single text may  have claims to be included under more than one  heading.  However, the attempt to c l a s s i f y the Fables,  will,  i t i s hoped, reveal not only Marie de France's wide range of i n t e r e s t s , but also the uniqueness of her  contribution  to the genre. The  practice of such virtues as l o y a l t y , resignation,  moderation and industry, i s usually i n the interest of the community.  A great number of f a b u l i s t s have, therefore, i n  the past, given t h e i r attention to the s o c i a l v i r t u e s , and the fable proved to be an instrument f u l l y capable of  teaching  a lesson i n prudence or worldly wisdom. Most fables are about animals. t h e i r protagonists,  others men,  together on occasion.  Some have gods as  while men  and gods appear  Only a few are concerned with the - 55  - 56 natural elements ( i . e . the sun, the wind, the sea or the r i v e r ) , or with plants.  Many are merely anecdotes with a  moral somewhat loosely attached. Marie de France's Fables are mainly concerned with animals or with men. "anecdote" variety. i n her Fables.  She has also written fables of the Few gods or goddesses appear, however,  In Fable XXXI, De pavone et Junone. the  goddess Juno appears to converse with the peacock, complains about having no voice.  who  There are also references  to " l a sepande" and " l a deuesse" i n Fable XCVI, De lepore et cervo, and to "sepande" i n Fable LXXIT, De scarabaeo. It i s d i f f i c u l t to believe, however, that Marie's intention, when writing the Fables, was to o f f e r a s l i g h t improving story, a f t e r the fashion of an Aesop's f a b l e . Middle Ages were nothing i f not moral and d i d a c t i c . "  x  "The There  were, f o r example, the B e s t i a r i e s — a medieval c o l l e c t i o n of fables, a l l e g o r i e s , and s t o r i e s .  These s t o r i e s about animals  were sometimes f a n c i f u l , at other times m o r a l i s t i c .  "Lapidaries,  "volucraries" and "Herbaries" dealt with the moral q u a l i t i e s of precious stones, birds, and herbs.  The exempla were short  tales of an edifying character, used to i l l u s t r a t e the text of a medieval sermon.  The s t o r i e s might be taken from the  C l a s s i c s , the Bible, l o c a l history, or f o l k - l o r e . The moral concern i n Marie's work cannot, of course,  Charles Homer Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1927), p. 109.  - 57 be summarized, but the reader f e e l s i t i s there, when he examines the Fables.  But the medieval e t h i c , as L.A.  has shown, was a r e l i g i o u s one.  Cormican  The p r i n c i p l e that "no  1  man  l i v e t h to himself or dieth to himself" implied the practice of brotherly love towards neighbours, but i t also implied the medieval doctrine of the power of concupiscence over man  (the  l u s t of the eyes, the l u s t of the f l e s h , the pride of l i f e ) , because of Adam's s i n . In Chapter I I , reference was made to the four Cardinal V i r t u e s — j u s t i c e , prudence, temperance or moderation, and fortitude.  The f i r s t c l a s s i f i c a t i o n that t h i s writer proposes,  then, i s a c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , according to the themes o f — J u s t i c e , Prudence, Temperance (Moderation), and Fortitude. The theme of j u s t i c e i s dramatically i l l u s t r a t e d and developed i n several f a b l e s .  Miss E.A. Francis affirms that  a f a i r number of the fables are concerned with s o c i a l j u s t i c e , as i t was understood, no doubt, i n Henry I I ' s Court i n England in-the Twelfth Century.  In these fables, problems of good  and e v i l , of wisdom and f o l l y , are part of the feudal picture. The nature of the feudal bond i s discussed.  The liege l o r d  must uphold what i s r i g h t , j u s t , and lawful, the selection of l i e g e lords must be prudently carried out, vassals, on the other hand, must respect and obey a good l i e g e l o r d .  In  the Appendix to her a r t i c l e "Marie de France et son Temps"  •••L.A. Cormican, "The Medieval Idiom i n Shakespeare," Scrutiny, V o l . XVII, Pt. IV (1951).  - 58 (Romania, LXXII, pp. 7S-99), Miss Francis gives the "morals" of these f a b l e s  1  (pp. 97-99, Warake E d i t i o n ) .  This writer  has added a further l i s t of f a b l e s i n the Appendix to his 2  thesis where the morals, which also r e f e r to contemporary Twelfth Century problems, can be examined. that, i n addition to Miss F r a n c i s  1  I t would seem  fourteen f a b l e s , ten more  could be added, which show concern with s o c i a l j u s t i c e at Henry I I s court. 1  Marie seems to have added something  p e c u l i a r l y her own t o the "morals" of these f a b l e s , although she claims t o have translated the o r i g i n a l work f a i t h f u l l y (Prologue l i n e s 27-28). category, at l e a s t .  There are twenty-four fables i n t h i s  This would, i n the writer's opinion, be  a conservative estimate.  There might be as many as t h i r t y  fables altogether i n t h i s group.  Even so, Marie de France  wrote one hundred and two fables, plus a prologue  and an  epilogue. The next theme to be considered i s that of prudence. The point has already been made that the great majority of fables are counsels of prudence or of worldly wisdom. The writer wishes, however, to include i n t h i s category only those fables, where the "morals" themselves purport to give counsels of prudence.  Such are Fable VI, De sole nubente (where i t i s  Miss Francis gives the "morals" of the following Fables:- I I , IV, VIII, XV, XIX, XXXIV, XXVIII, XLVII, XLIX, LXII, LXIII, LXXVIII, LXXX, LXXXIV. Fables (Warnke E d i t i o n ) : - VI, VII, XVIII, XX, XXIII, XXVII, XXIX, XXXVI, XLVI, LVI. 2  - 59 suggested that we do nothing t o strengthen the p o s i t i o n o f wicked l i e g e - l o r d s ) , i n Fable T i l l , De cane parturiente, where i t i s recommended that prudence should enter into our r e l a t i o n s with the " f e l u n hume," i n Fable LXXXIX, De lupo et capra, where sensible people are t o l d t o be on t h e i r guard, for  n  li  felun e l i d e s l e i a l dunent tuz jurs eunseil de mai."  In Fable XX, De fure et cane, "chescuns frans huem" i s t o l d not t o accept rewards or l i s t e n to the f l a t t e r y or the promises of those who attempt t o undermine h i s allegiance to a l i e g e lord.  In Fable CI, De catto i n f u l a t o . i t i s suggested that nuls ne se deit metre en j u s t i s e de c e l u i k i mai l i vuelt querre. Moderation or temperance, i s also held up to us as  a virtue i n Fable LXXXVTII, De lupo et vulpe. where " l i bons s i r e " s e t t l e s differences i n court, calmly and reasonably. There i s no mention o f f o r t i t u d e i n any fable, although i n Fable IT, De cane et ove, the poor sheep, who i s f a l s e l y accused of not paying back an alleged debt ("le pain preste"), and who has therefore to be fleeced of h i s wool, shows considerable f o r t i t u d e .  The moral of t h i s fable refers t o the  poor, who are i l l - t r e a t e d by the r i c h . The themes of moderation  and f o r t i t u d e are not,  however, developed as f u l l y as those of j u s t i c e and prudence. A second c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of the Fables could be made according t o r e l i g i o u s content.  In Fable XXII, De leporibus  et r a n i s, the hares, bewailing the i n s e c u r i t y and fear i n which they l i v e "s*en vuelent fors e i s s i r . "  As they reach a  - 60 pond, some frogs s c u t t l e into the water.  The hares r e a l i z e  that there are creatures even more tormented than they and so they return to t h e i r burrows.  The moral of t h i s fable  states Ja mes regne ne troverunt n'en cele terre ne vendrunt que tut i seient senz pour u senz t r a v a i l u senz dolur. In Fable XXV, De vidua, the widow of Ephesus theme, which occurs so often i n the world's l i t e r a t u r e , appears once more.  However, Marie's moral seems to have r e l i g i o u s overtones.  Marie does not, as so many f a b u l i s t s have done, write that the widow l o s t her former good name as a r e s u l t of her conduct. She writes:Par iceste signefiance poum entendre quel creance deivent aveir l i mort es v i s . Tant est l i munz f a l s e j o l i s . In the "morals" of these two fables, b e l i e f i n a supernatural realm or i n a Divine Power i s implied. The following four f a b l e s — F a b l e XLVIII, De fure et s o r t i l e g a . Fable LIV, De r u s t i c o orante et equum petente. Fable LV, De r u s t i c o stulto orante. and Fable XCIX, De nomine i n nave, might more appropriately be termed q u a s i - r e l i g i o u s . The "morals" are counsels of prudence and so these fables might have been included under the f i r s t c l a s s i f i c a t i o n with the  theme of prudence.  However, they appear to be r e l i g i o u s ,  and so have been added to De vidua and to Fable XXII, De leporibus et ranis.  - 61 In Fable XLVIII, De fure et s o r t i l e g a . a t h i e f makes a compact with a witch, who continues h i s "mestier."  promises to help him, i f he  However, when the t h i e f becomes a  "gallows b i r d , " she breaks her promise.  The moral i s as  follows:Pur ceo chastie tute gent q u ' i l ne creient, Deus l e defent, en augure n'en sorcerie; kar t r a i z est k i s ' i a f i e : l i cors en est mis en e i s s i l , e l'alme vet en grant p e r i l . The following fables are concerned with the expression of a b e l i e f i n a Divine Power.  In Fable LIV, De rustico orante  et equum petente. the v i l l e i n prays i n church f o r another horse.  Meanwhile thieves s t e a l the only horse he has.  The  v i l l e i n then prays f o r the return of the horse that has been stolen.  The moral reads:Pur ceo ne de plus aveir ceo guart que s i l i suffise  deit nuls huem preier q u ' i l n'a mesti.er: deus l i a done, en l e i a l t e !  In Fable LV, De r u s t i c o stulte orante. a v i l l e i n prays that God should bless him, h i s wife, and his children, but no one e l s e .  Another v i l l e i n , on hearing t h i s , prays that God  should l a y a curse upon t h i s v i l l e i n , h i s wife, and children, but no one e l s e .  The moral i s as follows:-  Par cest essample v u e i l r e t r a i r e : chescuns deit t e l preiere f a i r e , k i a l a gent ne s e i t nuisable e k i a deu s e i t acceptable. L a s t l y , i n Fable XCIX, De homine i n nave, a man  prays  -62  -  to God that He should guide a ship safely to port.  The  more he prays, however, the longer does the ship s a i l on the high seas. wills.  In desperation, he asks God to do whatever He  Shortly afterwards the ship reaches port.  The moral  is:L i sages deit raisnablement preier a deu omnipotent, que de l u i face sun p l a i s i r : de ceo l i puet granz biens venir. Kar mielz set deus q u ' i l l i estuet que s i s quers, k i l i change e muet. A t h i r d c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of the Fables might be made according to the theme of the wickedness of women.  One  example i s Fable XLV, Iterum de muliere et proco ejus. t h i s fable a husband sees h i s wife with a lover.  In  When he  informs her of t h i s , she declares that t h i s i s bad news.  Her  grand-mother and her mother, just before they died, were s i m i l a r l y seen with l o v e r s , when they were, i n r e a l i t y , alone. The wife suggests that she should spend the remaining hours of her l i f e i n a convent. begs her not to leave him.  The husband, overcome with emotion, "Mencunge f u quan que jeo v i s "  he affirms. The moral of the story i s : Pur ceo d i t hum en repruvier que femmes sevent engignier: les veziees nunverabies unt un art plus que l i diables. Another example i s Fable LXXU, De nomine et serpente, a v i l l e i n and a serpent have made a compact, whereby the v i l l e i n w i l l bring milk to the serpent twice a day.  The  - 63 v i l l e i n , on the other hand, receives gold and s i l v e r from the serpent, and h i s f i e l d s y i e l d good crops. his  The v i l l e i n , on  wife's advice, attempts t o k i l l the serpent.  i s unsuccessful.  In t h i s he  Gn the following day he finds that a l l h i s  sheep have been k i l l e d and t h e i r baby has died i n the cradle. In despair, the v i l l e i n decides t o return to the serpent, persuade him that they are s t i l l once more.  friends, and o f f e r him milk  The serpent informs him he may bring milk as  formerly and leave i t at the same spot, but he does not wish to  see the v i l l e i n again come so close to him. The breach  of  f a i t h w i l l long be remembered. The moral of the Fable i s : meinte femme c u n s e i l l e a f a i r e ceo dunt a plusurs nest cuntraire. Sages huem n ' i deit pas entendre n'a fole femme cunseil prendre, cum f i s t i c i l par sa v i l e i n e , dunt i l ot puis t r a v a i l e peine. These two fables appear to be the only fables i n the  c o l l e c t i o n where theme of the wickedness of women, i m p l i c i t in the narrative, i s made e x p l i c i t i n the moral. In Fable I, De gallo et gemma, the moral states:Veu l'avuns d'urae e de femme: le  pis pernent, l e mielz despisent.  And again, i n Fable L, De lupo et a r i e t e ne huem ne femme lecheresse ne guardera vou ne praraesse. Although i n Fable XCV, De uxore mala et marito eius. the wife i s described as "mult felunesse," the moral i s not  - 64 concerned with the wickedness of women at a l l . i n Fable XCIV, De homine et uxore l i t i g i o s a the  Similarly,  ("le pre tondu"),  moral does not r e f e r s p e c i f i c a l l y to the wickedness of  women. It would seem then, that i n Marie de France's c o l l e c t i o n there are only two fables, where the theme of the wickedness of women has been f u l l y i l l u s t r a t e d and developed. There can be no doubt that i n these p a r t i c u l a r fables women are  dangerous and cunning jades!  A fourth c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i s that of " L i Nunsachant." Marie de France has written three fables about " L i Nunsachant." In Fable XLI, De homine d i v i t e et s e r v i s . a r i c h man sees two servants i n a f i e l d one day, conferring with one another so solemnly that h i s c u r i o s i t y i s aroused. they are acting thus.  He asks them why  They answer that they appear more  cunning and i n t e r e s t i n g by so doing. The moral i s : Ceo funt suvent l i nunsachant: de t e l chose mustrent semblant, pur a l t r e gent survezieV, k i ne l u r puet aveir mestier. In Fable XLIII, De r u s t i c o et searabaeo. a v i l l e i n l i e s sleeping i n the sun. his body.  Somehow, a beetle penetrates into  He suffers such pain that he has to consult a  doctor, who informs him that he i s pregnant. who believe t h i s .  The moral states:-  There are many  -65  -  Par cest essample l e vus d i : des nunsachant est a l t r e s i , k i ereient ceo qu'estre ne puet, u vanitez l e s t r a i t e muet. In Fable LXI7, De homine et equo et h i r c o . a r i c h wants to s e l l a horse and a goat f o r twenty sous.  man  He finds  a customer f o r the horse, but the goat, he i s t o l d , i s worthless.  The r i c h man,  i n a rage, t e l l s h i s customer he w i l l  have to buy both animals or leave them both. The moral i s : (i  Veeir poez del nunsachant, k i sun mai us prise altretant eume sun bon tut oelment: ne poet l e s s i e r sun f o l t a l e n t . A f i f t h category of fables i s that of the theme of s t u p i d i t y or f o l l y . In Fable CVII, De homine et serpente (which we have already discussed), there i s a reference to " f o l e femme" i n the moral.  In Fable LXXvTI, De lupo et e r i c i o , one of the  shortest fables i n the c o l l e c t i o n , "bricun" or f o o l .  the moral r e f e r s to a  In Fable LVII, De r u s t i c o et nano, a  v i l l e i n catches a hobgoblin.  The l a t t e r grants the v i l l e i n  three wishes, on condition that he (the hobgoblin) be not shown to other people. the wishes.  The v i l l e i n gives h i s wife one of  One day the couple are having a meal.  The  v i l l e i n ' s wife can not extract some bone-marrow, which she wishes to eat.  She, therefore, wishes that her husband had  a long, curved b i l l , l i k e that of the hoopoe.  When the wish  becomes r e a l i t y , her husband i s n a t u r a l l y anxious to do away  - 66 with such an ornament.  Thus, only one wish i s l e f t to the  pair. The moral reads  s  L i f o i s quide del vezie q u ' i l l e v u e i l l e aveir c o n s e i l l i e s i cume s e i ; mes i l i f a i t , kar tant ne set ne tant ne v a l t . r  In Fable XCI, De cerva hinnulum instruente. a hind warns i t s fawn i n vain of the dangers i t may have to f a c e dogs, wolves, and man.  The l a s t two l i n e s of the moral read:-  Quant f o i s ne vuelt ereire l e sage, suvent i pert par sun ultrage. In Fable XVIV, De homine et uxore l i t i g i o s a ("le pre tondu") the moral r e f e r s to the " f o i s , " who "parole f o l i e . "  Before t h i s w r i t e r proceeds to e s t a b l i s h a s i x t h and l a s t category f o r the Fables of Marie de F r a n c e — a category composed of thirty-two fables about s p e c i f i c  sins—  he would l i k e to discuss the themes of i n d i s c r e t i o n and weakness, which have been i l l u s t r a t e d and to some extent developed by the f i r s t French poetess. Indiscretion would seem to be a vice or a s i n . As a s i n , i t appears akin to pride.  But to what extent i s pride  present i n i t ? To what extent does ignorance enter i t s composition?  B a s i c a l l y , i n d i s c r e t i o n means imprudence, or  lack o f good judgment. In Fable L I , De simia et prole ejus, a mother monkey  - 67 proudly shows her ugly l i t t l e son to a l l and sundry. Eventually she shows him to a bear, who promptly gobbles him up.  The moral i s : Pur ceo ne devreit nuls mustrer sa privete ne sun penser. par descovrance vient granz mais, n'est pas l i sieeles tuz l e i a l s . In Fable XIV, De leone aegroto« the theme i s weakness-  physical weakness. An old l i o n worn out with age and feebleness i s breathing h i s l a s t .  Many animals pay him a v i s i t , some  because they are interested i n h i s w i l l , others because they wish to be present when he dies.  An ox butts him with his  horns, an ass kicks him, and a fox bites his ears. The r e a l meaning of the fable i s that " l i  nunpuissanz  a poi amis." The moral states:K i qu'unkes chieee en nunpoeir, se pert sa force e sun aveir, ^ mult l e tienent en grant v i l t e nis l i plusur k i l'unt ame^. In Fable LXXXVII, De duobus l u p i s . two wolves, who want to reform, decide to help the v i l l a g e r s i n the f i e l d s gather i n t h e i r sheaves.  The v i l l a g e r s , however, shout at  them and chase them away. t h e i r old practices.  The wolves, therefore, revert to  "Ja mes bien ne ferunt, ceo d i s t r e n t . "  The moral states:Ceo v e i t hum suvent d e l felun, k i a mult p e t i t d'achaisun  - 68 l a i s s e l e bien que i l commence; se i l ne veit en sa presence l e l u i e r , q u i l en vuelt aveir, a mai en turne sun espeir. T  Sin, i t would seem, may arise from weakness (lack of f o r t i t u d e ) , just as i t may arise from ignorance or sheer malice.  Sixth Category—In the Fables, the following themes w i l l be examined i n some d e t a i l :  (1) the theme of malice,  (2) the themes of greed, covetousness and miserliness, (3) the themes of treachery, deceit, slander, robbery and t h e f t , (4) the themes of presumption, pride and envy. Three fables belong to the f i r s t group, where the theme i s that of malice.  Fable LXVIII, De leone infirmo.  Fable XLIX, De fabro et s e c u r i , and Fable I I I , De rana et mure. In De leone infirmo, the l i o n i s sick.  The animals,  who have gathered together to consider the matter, decide that the fox should be summoned, so that he may be consulted about a cure f o r the l i o n ' s ailment. "quointes et veziez" does not appear.  But the fox, who i s He remains close enough  to the room, where the animals have assembled, however, to overhear the wolf denounce him i n no uncertain terms: Riens nel detient fors l'engreste de sun eurage; kar j i enveiai mun message. f  The fox should be k i l l e d or hanged, the wolf asserts. hearing t h i s , the fox decides i t i s time to act:  On  - 69  -  Pas pur pas est avant venuz, que des bestes f u bien veuz. The fox informs the gathering that he has wandered far and wide f o r many a long day and has consulted doctors in Salerno about the wolf's i l l n e s s .  These doctors t o l d him  that i n order to cure the l i o n , a wolf would have to be flayed a l i v e and the blood of i t s hide applied to the l i o n ' s chest. Immediately the animals l a y hands upon the wolf.  As the wolf  leaves, the fox gently expresses the hope that he (the wolf) has learned h i s lesson.  " I f you treat others badly," says  the fox, "you must expect to see the e v i l rebound upon you." The moral of the fable confirms the fox's  statement:  Tels purchace l e mai d ' a l t r u i , que c i l me'isme vient sur l u i , s i cum l i lous f i s t del g u p i l , que i l v o l e i t metre a e i s s i l . The narrative i n t h i s fable i s l i v e l y and c o l o u r f u l . The lesson i n the fable, as i n a l l good fables, i s i m p l i c i t i n the narrative.  Yet, somehow, the reader does not derive  the same s a t i s f a c t i o n from reading t h i s fable as he does from Marie de France's best fables.  Gould i t be that we  with the wolf rather than the fox?  Was  sympathize  the wolf as malicious  or malevolent as the moral would seem to imply? In Fable XLIX, De fabro et s e c u r i . a smith possesses a sharp axe, which i s , nevertheless, useless, f o r i t has no shaft attached to i t .  The smith asks several trees where he  can f i n d the best wood f o r the shaft of his axe.  A l l the  trees recommend the black thorn-tree as the most suitable f o r  - 70 his  purpose.  He accepts t h e i r suggestion and l a t e r cuts  down the thorn-tree i t s e l f . The moral i s : Tut a l t r e s i est des malyais, des tresfeluns e des engres: quant uns prozdum l e s met avant e par l u i sunt riche e manant, s i l se surpueent mielz de l u i , tuz jurs l i funt hunte e ennui; a c e l u i funt i l tut l e p i s , k i plus l e s a a l desus mis. T  In  other words:  Far from showing gratitude to a  benefactor, some people show a desire to harm him out of sheer spite. In Fable I I I , De mure et rana. a mouse, who  lived in  a m i l l , was trimming i t s whiskers one day when a frog and asked i f i t were the owner of the house. the f r o g to spend the night i n the m i l l .  The mouse i n v i t e d  There were so many  holes into whieh they could disappear, i f necessary! of f l o u r and wheat were abundant. eopious meal. the food.  appeared  Supplies  The two animals had a  Then the mouse asked the frog whether i t l i k e d  "Yes," r e p l i e d the frog, "but i t might be even more  to my taste, were i t moistened a l i t t l e at that pool i n the meadow where I l i v e .  Why  not come with  me?"  Tant l i premet par sun engin e l a blandist par sa parole, qu'ele l a c r e i t , s i f i s t que f o l e . In the meadow, there was so much dew, thought i t would drown.  that the mouse  She wanted to return to the m i l l ,  but the frog i n s i s t e d that they proceed to a r i v e r .  Here the  - 71 mouse broke down and wept, f o r she could not swim.  The frog  t i e d the mouse's foot to i t s own and began to swim. When they reached the deep end of the r i v e r , the frog dived i n , t r y i n g to drown the poor mouse: La suriz pipe en halt e c r i e , k i quida tute estre perie. But a k i t e spotted the two a n i m a l s — " l e s eles c l o t , a v a l descent."  The k i t e snatches i t s victims between i t s claws.  The frog was f a t and appetizing and so the k i t e devours i t and l e t s the mouse go. The moral states that the very suffering which the wicked wish to i n f l i c t upon others, rebounds upon them i n the end. The theme of malice i s handled with greater a r t i s t r y i n t h i s fable than i n the two preceding ones.  In what might  be c a l l e d Act I, the unsuspecting mouse i n v i t e s the treacherous frog into i t s house and entertains l a v i s h l y .  In Act I I , the  frog leads i t s poor victim through the dewy grass, where i t almost drowns.  In Act I I I , the two animals reach the r i v e r ,  where the mouse would undoubtedly have drowned, had not the k i t e intervened.  Malice implies a deep-seated  animosity that  delights i n causing others to suffer or i n seeing them s u f f e r . Marie de France has succeeded  i n making the reader aware  gradually of the grudge harboured by the treacherous frog.  The second group of fables, that the writer wishes  - 72 to examine i n d e t a i l , i s that group which includes the themes of covetousness, greed or miserliness (also to some extent, lechery and concupiscence). In Fable I I , a wolf standing higher up a stream than a lamb, accuses the lamb of muddying the water so that he cannot drink. the  The lamb remonstrates that he i s standing lower down  r i v e r and cannot possibly disturb the water higher up.  Thereupon, the wolf accuses the lamb of i n s u l t i n g him, as the lamb's father had done on a previous occasion, s i x months earlier.  "Why  do you t e l l me t h i s ? " asks the lamb.  not even born then."  "I was  "You are always doing what you should  not do," says the wolf.  He then pounces on the lamb and de-  vours him. The moral of the fable states that many viscounts and judges accuse f a l s e l y , as did the wolf, because they covet and wish to acquire what belongs to t h e i r victims.  Covetous-  ness implies a greed f o r something that another person r i g h t f u l l y possesses. In Fable V, De cane et umbra, a dog crosses over a r i v e r , holding i n i t s mouth a piece of cheese.  Half-way  across, the dog sees the r e f l e c t i o n of the cheese, but concludes that i t has seen another cheese. both cheeses.  I t decides i t wants  I t opens i t s mouth and drops the cheese: e umbre v i t , e umbre f u , e sun furmage ot i l perdu.  The moral reads:-  - 73 Ki plus eoyeite que sun d r e i t . par s e i meismes se deceit; kar ceo q u ' i l a pert i l ^ s o v e n t , e de l ' a l t r u i n'a i l ni'ent. In Fable XI, De leone venante. a l i o n , a buffalo, and a wolf, who are hunting, catch a deer and f l a y i t a l i v e .  The  l i o n then informs h i s companions that he i s e n t i t l e d to one t h i r d of the deer because he i s king of the animal kingdom, he i s e n t i t l e d to another one t h i r d because he hunted the deer, and the remaining one t h i r d i s h i s because he k i l l e d i t . On another occasion the l i o n i s accompanied by a goat and a sheep.  The animals catch a deer.  Once more the l i o n  claims that the deer i s h i s , the f i r s t quarter because he i s king, the second quarter because he took part i n the hunt, the t h i r d quarter because he i s the strongest of the three, and the fourth quarter because he planned that they w i l l f i g h t for  it. The moral of the fable states that the poor cannot  compete with r i c h men, who wish to r e t a i n everything on which they can l a y hands, " l i riches vuelt t u t r e t e n i r . " In Fable XXVIII, De simia et vulpe, a monkey meets a fox and makes the strange request "que de sa cue l i prestast, s i l u i pleust, u l'en dunast."  The fox's t a i l i s too long,  the monkey's children, on the other hand, have no t a i l at a l l . The fox r e p l i e s that, i f i t could no longer drag i t s t a i l along the ground, even then, i t would not comply with the monkey's request. The moral i n t h i s fable refers to "l'aver hume"—  74  -  the m i s e r — se i l a plus que l u i n'estuet, ne vuelt s u f f r i r (kar i l ne puet) q u a l t r e en a i t aise ne honur; mielz l e vuelt perdre ehascun j u r . f  In Fable L, De lupo et a r i e t e , a wolf who has undertaken not to eat meat f o r f o r t y days during Lent, breaks h i s promise when he encounters a f a t , appetizing lamb.  The moral  states that the ume de malvais quer," who cannot curb h i s n  desires, w i l l never keep h i s promises.  The vices mentioned  i n t h i s fable are gluttony, lechery and intemperance ( i . e . excess of any kind).  However, Marie de France also indicates  that the d i s p o s i t i o n to s i n i s present, when she writes "l'ume de malvais quer." In Fable L I I , De dracone et homine. a v i l l e i n and a dragon are f r i e n d s . dragon f a i t h f u l l y .  The v i l l e i n often promises to serve the The l a t t e r , therefore, decides one day  to t e s t t h e i r friendship.  He asks the v i l l e i n to keep an  egg, i n which are stored a l l h i s wealth and strength, while he goes f o r a s t r o l l .  I f the egg i s destroyed, he (the  dragon) w i l l d i e . When the dragon leaves, the v i l l e i n destroys the egg, i n the b e l i e f he w i l l thereby k i l l the dragon and i n h e r i t h i s fortune.  But the dragon returns.  Their friendship i s over.  The moral states that we should not entrust a " t r i c h e u r " or a "felun" with valuable property. En coveitus ne en aver ne se deit nuls trop a f i e r .  - 75 In Fable LvT, De rustico et monedula ejus, a jackdaw, whom a v i l l e i n had taught to speak, was k i l l e d by a neighbour. The l a t t e r was summoned to appear before a court.  The accused  brought with him a leather purse, which he kept hidden beneath his cloak.  The keys of the purse appeared beneath the cloak.  Now and again, during the proceedings, the accused would open up h i s cloak u n t i l f i n a l l y the judge caught sight of the purse. The judge then asked the v i l l e i n , who had lodged the complaint, what the jackdaw used to say or sing. did not know.  The v i l l e i n r e p l i e d he  The judge then ruled that i f t h i s were the case,  no decision could be given by the court. The moral reads:Pur ceo ne deit princes ne r e i s ses cumandemenz ne ses l e i s a coveitus metre en b a i l l i e ; kar sa dreiture en est perie. In Fable LXII, De aquila et a e c i p i t r e et columbis. the eagle, king of birds, rests high up on the branch of a tree i n the f u l l heat of the season.  The hawk, h i s seneschal,  s i t s on another branch beneath the eagle.  He looks down with  displeasure at the doves who are playing below, and thinks: i f the eagle were not above, or i f he were to move to another tree, I should soon put an end to your games. "Jeo f e r e i e de vus j u s t i s e . " The moral reads:Pur ceo ne deit princes v o l e i r seneschal en sun regne aveir ne coveitus ne menteur, s ' i l nel vuelt f a i r e sun seignur.  - 76 I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to read the morals of Fables LVI and LXII (the l a s t two discussed), and then read what Macchiavelli was t o write three hundred years l a t e r i n the Prince:For a prince to be able to know a minister, there i s t h i s method, which never f a i l s . When you see the minister think more of himself than you, and, i n a l l h i s actions, seek his own p r o f i t , such a man w i l l never be a good minister, and you can never r e l y on him; f o r , whoever has i n hand the state of another must never think of himself, but of the prince, and not mind anything but what r e l a t e s to him.l The "morals" of Fables LXII and LVI are almost i d e n t i c a l . I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g , therefore, to note that the narratives d i f f e r considerably.  Fable LVT i s a l i v e l y , fast-moving  story. The  reader sees the accused v i l l e i n , with purse-keys dangling, open up h i s cloak so that the old judge can see his reward. In Fable LXII, on the other hand, the eagle s i t s solemnly at the top of a t r e e — t h e hawk r e s t s on another branch. i s considerable.  The heat  Only the doves move about below.  In Fable LXVII, De corvo pennas pavonis inveniente, a crow happens to come across a pea-cock's feathers.  He  r e a l i z e s then how p l a i n his own are, p u l l s them a l l out, and adorns himself with pea-cock feathers.  His appearance, how-  ever, i s unfamiliar to the pea-cocks, who knock him about and chivy him o f f .  When he returns among the crows, the l a t t e r  also do not recognise him.  Thus he finds himself banished .  ^Niceolo M a c h i a v e l l i , The Prince. A Mentor C l a s s i c , New American Library, 1 9 3 5 , p. 1 1 5 .  77 from the society of both crows and pea-cocks. The moral i s as follows:Ceo puet hum veeir de plusurs, k i aveir unt e granz honurs: uncor voldreient plus c u i l l i r ceo q u ' i l ne pueent r e t e n i r ; ceo q u ' i l coveitent n'unt i l mie, e l e l u r perdent par f o l i e . In Fable LXXXV, De ape et musea. the f l y claims s u p e r i o r i t y over the bee.  I t can t r a v e l everywhere,  even  s i t upon the king, whereas the bee works hard throughout the year, gathering supplies, then dies. hand, can eat i t s f i l l of honey. the  The f l y ,  on the other  " A l l t h i s i s true," says  bee, "but I am loved and respected, which i s more than  you can claim to be." The moral points out that the "natre f e l u n " — t h e wicked miser—whose only concern i s h i s many possessions, would do well to give a l i t t l e thought to his own behaviour and reputation. In Fable XCVI, De lepore et cervo. a hare looks upon a deer, and cannot but admire the horns of i t s head.  The  hare asks the goddess why i t can not have horns l i k e those of the deer.  The goddess r e p l i e s : " T a i s , f o i s , " . . . " l a i ester: tu nes purreies guverner."  However, the hare i n s i s t s , so h i s request i s granted.  Un-  fortunately, the prediction of the goddess proves to be correct. The moral states:l i coveitus e l i aver vuelent tuz jurs tant c u v e i t i e r ,  - 78 e s i se vuelent eshalcier, tant enpernent par l u r ultrage, que l u r honurs turne a damage.  In Fable 17, De cane et ove, a dog, who  i s "males  quisches, t r i c h e u r , " a s l y , l y i n g , d e c e i t f u l creature, accuses a sheep of not returning a piece of bread which he had loaned it.  The sheep denies ever having received the bread.  The  judge asks i f there were any witnesses to the transaction. "Yes," r e p l i e s the dog, "the k i t e and the wolf." swear solemnly that what the dog says i s true. decides that the bread should be returned. comply with h i s i n s t r u c t i o n s . wool.  The l a t t e r The judge  The sheep cannot  I t , therefore, has to s e l l i t s  In the cold winter that follows the sheep dies.  The  dog, the k i t e , and the wolf waste no time i n claiming t h e i r victim.  The sins or vices here, are covetousness, l y i n g and  deceit. In the moral, the poetess refers to those who  bring  trumped-up charges against the poor, and to how the poor are obliged to pay f o r the fraudulent proceedings at court.  The t h i r d group of fables that the writer wishes to examine i n d e t a i l i s that, including the themes of treachery, deceit, slander, robbery and t h e f t . In Fable XII, De aquila et t e s t i t u d i n e , an eagle has caught sight of a whelk.  He wants to eat i t , but cannot open  - 79 -  the s h e l l . to  A crow offers to help him, provided he be allowed  share the meal.  He suggests that the eagle f l y as high  as he possibly can and that he should l e t the whelk f a l l on hard ground.  The eagle agrees to do t h i s .  The treacherous  crow, however, opens the s h e l l and eats the "peissunet." When the eagle reaches the whelk, the crow has disappeared and the hole, which the l a t t e r has made with h i s beak, i s so small that the eagle cannot even see i t . The moral refers to the felun, k i par aguait e par engin mescunseille sun bon v e i s i n ; and the l a s t three l i n e s state:par traisun l i t o l t e emble^ i ' a v e i r que c i l a purchacie" par grant t r a v e i l e guaaignie. (traisun, has, of course, the meaning of "treachery" or " d e c e i t " ) . In Fable XXXIV, De s i mi arum imperatore, an Emperor once kept a monkey.  The animal was well-treated and had an  opportunity to observe how the Emperor ruled h i s court. Eventually, the monkey took t o the f o r e s t , assembled a l l the monkeys together and had himself appointed king.  He then  dubbed knights and appointed counsellors and servants. Dune p r i s t femme, s i ot enfanz, e t i n t festes riches e granz. Two men unwittingly strayed into monkey t e r r i t o r y . One was honest, the other l y i n g and d e c e i t f u l .  The honest  man was asked h i s opinion about the monkey-king, h i s wife and t h e i r l i t t l e son. The answer came:-  - 80 "tu ie*s singes, ele est singesse l a i d e e hisduse e felunesse. Par t e i poez saveir de tun f i z que c'est uns singetels p e t i z . " The other man, the same question.  who was  l y i n g and d e c e i t f u l , was  asked  He claimed that "unkes ne v i t plus bele  g e n t " — t h e monkey looked l i k e an Emperor, his wife an Empress and h i s son might quite well be a king. The honest man  was tortured and punished.  His  d e c e i t f u l companion was well rewarded f o r h i s base f l a t t e r y . Once more the moral complains about l y i n g and deceit at  court:ne puet mie od l i l e i a l s huem en curt u l'em e par mencunge  le tricheur aveir honur vueille trichier forsjugier.  In Fable XLII, De homine d i v i t e qui sanguinem minuit. a r i c h man was undergoing treatment at the hands of a doctor. As the doctor had to bleed the patient, a sample of the l a t t e r ' s blood was  always kept i n a receptacle.  The  rich  man's daughter had been given s t r i c t i n s t r u c t i o n s that the sample was not to be touched.  Thus, i t might be possible i n  the end to i d e n t i f y the father's sickness. l e t the receptacle f a l l to the ground.  One  day the  girl  She was a f r a i d to t e l l  anyone about t h i s , and she replaced her father's blood with a supply of her own.  When the doctor analysed the blood, he  discovered that his patient was  pregnant.  He was  His patient too, was not a l i t t l e astonished. stepped forward, t e l l i n g both men  astounded.  The g i r l then  the t r u t h , "tant par d e s t r e i t  - 31 tant par amur." The moral, which i s somewhat loosely attached to the anecdote, claims that deceivers and thieves are often the cause of t h e i r own undoing. In Fable L I I I , De eremita, a v i l l e i n and a hermit l i v e d together.  The v i l l e i n would often ask why Adam had  tasted the forbidden f r u i t , thereby causing untold harm to humanity, and why God had not forgiven Adam his s i n . The hermit, who was annoyed at the constant questioning, decided to teach the v i l l e i n a lesson.  He placed a mouse  underneath a large plate, which had been turned upside down and gave the v i l l e i n instructions not to touch the plate while he prayed at the monastery.  The v i l l e i n s c u r i o s i t y 1  was aroused, however, and during the hermit's absence, he l i f t e d the plate to see what was underneath. escape.  He saw the mouse  When the hermit returned, the l a t t e r pretended to be  angry and then pointed out that the v i l l e i n would never again be able to blame Adam f o r eating the forbidden f r u i t . The moral i s : do not concern yourself with other people's shortcomings  and defects.  The spreading of f a l s e statements  Try to see your own  faults.  (or slander) must be avoided  at a l l costs. In Fable LXI, De vulpe et columba. a fox has just attended a council meeting, where a royal l e t t e r was read out. In t h i s l e t t e r the king wished i t to be known that a l l s t r i f e between animals and birds should cease :  - 82 ensemble purrunt mes aler o i s e l e bestes, e juer. u  "You might as well come down from the cross on which you are perched and s i t beside me," said the fox.  "Very  well," said the dove, "but what do I see?---Two knights on horseback, accompanied by t h e i r dogs."  n  I think," said the  s l y fox, " I s h a l l s l i p into the woods then. trouble.  I wish to avoid  Perhaps they have not yet heard about the king's  letter." The moral of t h i s fable again r e f e r s to l y i n g and deceit:S i vet des feluns veziez: par e l s sunt plusur engigniez par parole e par f a i s sermun, cum c i l volt f a i r e l e colum. In Fable LXXI, De lupo et e r i c i o . a wolf and a hedgehog had made a pact.  While the wolf attacked i t s prey, the hedge-  hog would endeavour to keep the dogs at bay. On the other hand, should the hedgehog be caught, the wolf was expected to come to i t s rescue.  One day the wolf seized a lamb.  The shepherds  shouted at him, the dogs followed barking and the wolf d i s appeared i n the f o r e s t . shouted f o r help.  The hedgehog, who was i n d i f f i c u l t i e s ,  " I s h a l l give you no help" said the wolf.  But the hedgehog begged the wolf to k i s s him farewell.  "You  w i l l be able to t e l l my children they are orphans and that you l e f t me alone on the road" he s a i d . When the wolf kissed the hedgehog, the l a t t e r gripped his chin with h i s spines, compelling him to carry him to the  - 83 woods.  Then the hedgehog l e f t the wolf and climbed up a  t a l l tree.  The wolf asked him to come down and keep back the  dogs, who were s t i l l following.  "No," said the hedgehog,  "you were about to leave me i n the l u r c h .  I t i s now my turn  to abandon you." The moral runs:Ceo puet hum veeir del felun, k i vuelt t r a l r sun cumpaignun: i l meismes est encumbrez l a u l i a l t r e est d e l i v r e z . In Fable XGVIII, De catto et vulpe, a cat and a fox discuss how they can best defend themselves i f the need a r i s e s . "I have two weapons" said the fox "and a purse containing many more."  " I have only one" says the cat.  dogs come running up to them. your help now."  Just then two  The fox c a l l s out, " I need  "Help yourself" says the cat, "I've only one  weapon" and he climbs up a thorn-tree.  As the fox i s being  hard-pressed by the dogs, the cat c a l l s out, "why don't you untie the purse you spoke about?"  " I would rather have your  one weapon now than a l l those i n my purse" answered the fox. The fable ends thus:Del menteur avient suvent, tut parolt i l raisnablement, s i l puet l i sages entreprendre, s ' i l vuelt a sa parole entendre.  In the following group of fables the p r i n c i p a l theme i s pride, which was referred to i n Chapter I I , as the ultimate source of the o r i g i n of s i n .  - 84 In Fable X, De vulpe et aquila. while a fox plays with i t s children, an eagle swoops down and carries one of them o f f . The fox pleads i n vain f o r the return of i t s c h i l d . With the help of a burning ember and some twigs, however, the fox proceeds to set f i r e to the oak-tree, where the eagle has i t s nest.  The eagle, i n t e r r o r , shouts: Pren tun chael!  Ja serunt ars t u i t mi o i s e l . The moral i s that the "riche o r g u i l l u s " w i l l never l i s t e n to the poor man's plea, unless the l a t t e r be prepared to avenge a wrong done to him. In Fable XIII, De corvo et vulpe. a crow catches sight of an assortment  of cheeses, displayed upon wicker.  I t makes o f f with one of these.  A fox, who happens to pass  by, decides he would l i k e to share the cheese with the crow ( q u ' i l en peust sa part mangier). crow.  He therefore f l a t t e r s the  He says, "tant par est c i s t o i s e l s gentiz!" And l a t e r : Fust t e l s s i s chanz cum est s i s cors, i l v a l d r e i t mielz que nuls f i n s ors.  Gf course, the crow begins to sing, the cheese f a l l s to the ground and the fox c a r r i e s i t o f f . Puis n'ot i l cure de sun chant, que del furmage ot sun t a l a n t . The moral r e f e r s to des o r g u i l l u s k i de grant p r i s sunt desirus. These people, who are puffed-up with pride and think only of rewards, are e a s i l y misled by f l a t t e r e r s and deceivers.  - 85 In Fable XV, De asino adulante. an ass looks at h i s master as he plays with a l i t t l e dog.  He comes to the con-  clusion that he i s superior i n every way to the l i t t l e Consequently, he w i l l play with h i s master too.  dog.  One day he  begins to skip around and paw him, thereby almost k i l l i n g The master, t e r r i f i e d , c a l l s for the servants, who s t i c k s and staves.  him.  appear with  They beat the ass so hard that he can  hardly regain h i s stable. U.T. Holmes^" has summarized the moral of t h i s story by saying, "One for to  should not seek to r i s e to a position i n l i f e  which one was not intended."  The reference i n the moral  presumptuous people reads:meinte gent k i tant se vuelent eshalcier e en t e l l i u aparagier, k i n'avient pas a l u r corsage, ensurquetut a l u r parage. In Fable XXXV, De asino et leone. an ass greets a  l i o n i n a somewhat f a m i l i a r manner.  The l i o n expresses  surprise at t h i s .  "You think that no other  The ass r e t o r t s :  beast i s your equal.  Come with me to the top of the mountain  and I s h a l l show you that I can spread fear as well as you." The two animals reach the top of the mountain; down below i n the v a l l e y , many animals have assembled.  The ass then brays  so abominably that the animals below f l e e i n t e r r o r .  "These  animals were t e r r i f i e d " said the l i o n l a t e r "not because of  York:  U.T. Holmes, A History of Old French Literature 1937), p. 210.  (New  - 36 your great strength or f e r o c i t y , but because of the abominable noise you were making.  0  k i tant l u r semble espoehtable que t u i t te tienent pur diable. The moral r e f e r s to the " o r g u i l l u s f e l u n " who threatens h i s neighbour and who  quarrels with him.  He thinks  he i s superior to other people, so long as he t a l k s loud. In Fable LVIII, De vulpe et umbra lunae. a fox, passing by a pond one night, looked into the water and saw r e f l e c t i o n of the moon. It  the  I t thought i t saw a large cheese.  began to lap up the water thinking i t would be able to  seize the cheese.  I t drank so much water, however, that i t  died ( " i l ereva"). The moral r e f e r s to presumptuous people, who  expect  more than t h e i r due i n l i f e . Meinz huem espeire, u l t r e l e dreit e u l t r e ceo q u ' i l ne devreit, aveir tutes ses volentez, dunt puis est morz e a f o l e z . In Fable LXXIII, De mure uxorem petente. a mouse, i n search of a mate, decides i t must marry " l a f i l l e a l plus halt element." end i n view.  I t , therefore, approaches the sun with t h i s The sun informs the mouse, however, that the  cloud which casts i t s shadow upon i t , i s stronger than he. The cloud asserts that the wind i s stronger than he.  The wind,  in turn, claims that there i s a great stone-tower i n the neighbourhood, which can withstand the mightiest gusts. F i n a l l y , the stone-tower informs the mouse that there are  - 87 mightier than h e — t h e mice who make t h e i r nests inside the tower and reach every part of i t with ease. Now, the mouse had said on taking leave of the cloud: n  J a mes t a f i l l e ne prendrai." I t s parting words to the wind  were: ne d e i plus has femme c h o i s i r , qu'a mei ne deit apartenir,* Femme prendrai a grant honur. Or m:en i r a i desqu'a l a t u r . f  When the stone-tower informs the mouse that i t s own kind are stronger than he, then, at l a s t , the mouse r e a l i z e s i t s f o l l y and says: Jeo quidoue s i halt munter: or me covient a returner s r e n c l i n e r a ma nature. "Yes," says the tower Tels se quide mult eshalcier u l t r e sun d r e i t e alever, qui plus has estuet returner. And the mouse marries " l a suricete p e t i t e . " The moral r e f e r s to three types of sinners, those who are puffed-up with pride, those who envy other people's advantages and possessions, and those who overstep the proper bounds (the presumptuous).  These types of sinners a l l r e -  semble the mouse i n the f a b l e . In Fable LIX, De lupo et corvo s i t t i n g on a sheep's back.  t  a wolf sees a crow  I f I were to do that, thinks the  wolf, people would shout at me as i f I wanted to devour the animal. The moral states that the evil-doer d i s l i k e s his f a u l t s  - 88 to be known and he envies the good man  his reputation.  In Fable LXXIV", De soarabaeo. a beetle erawls out of a dung-heap and sees an eagle.  Immediately i t f e e l s  d i s s a t i s f i e d with i t s l o t . The Creator had made the eagle "curteis e b e l ,  n  whereas beetles  . . . . . n'esteient ver ne o i s e l ; saiil ne poeient v o l e r , jeiin ne poeient a l e r . The eagle f l i e s so high that you cannot see him. i n the sky, then swoops down.  He hovers  His voice i s low and pleasant,  his body shiny. The beetle decides never to return to the dung-heap, but to f l y with the birds i n the heavens. Idunc eumenga a chanter mult laidement e a c r i e r . Deriere l ' a i g l e p r i s t un s a l t ; car i l quida voler plus h a l t . But t h i s leap i n imitation of the eagle's f l i g h t proves too much f o r the beetle, who, cannot reach the dung-heap again.  giddy and exhausted,  He f e e l s i n c r e d i b l y  hungry and miserable and complains loudly. l i t t l e to him now  I t matters  i f the birds hear him or not.  longer cares whether he be b i r d or worm.  He no  He only wants to  eat kar de feim a i dolur e mai. The moral states that sometimes people learn from t h e i r own experience how wrong they are to be presumptuous or pretentious. In Fable LXXV, De apro et asino  y  a boar, as he  - 89 hurtles along a pathway, encounters an ass who makes no attempt to make way f o r him.  Amazed and angry, he says:  Bien s a i , que jeo f e r e i e , se mes denz aguisier v o l e i e . The moral refers to . . l ' o r g u i l l u s hume, k i quide bien en sun penser que nuls nel deie cuntrester;  A review of the s i x main categories of fables so f a r discussed would now  seem appropriate.  F i r s t Category.-Miss E.A. Francis has shown that the theme of j u s t i c e has been p a r t i c u l a r l y well i l l u s t r a t e d and developed i n several fables.  Marie de France probably  believed that feudal lords should be powerful (Cf. De leone aegroto, Fable X I V — " l i nunpuissanz  a poi amis") but they  must not be too powerful (Cf. De sole nubente. Fable V I ) . The feudal l o r d must uphold what i s r i g h t , just, and lawful. On the other hand, the vassal should respect and obey h i s liege lord.  Careful selection of feudal lords i s advised.  Marie appears to accept the h i e r a r c h i c a l structure of society and has only contempt f o r those who would climb above t h e i r s t a t i o n .  However, there are occasions when she  i s capable of sudden outbursts against the oppression of the poor and the weak, with whom she  sympathizes.  The theme of prudence i s i l l u s t r a t e d s p e c i f i c a l l y i n those fables where the "morals" themselves  are c l e a r l y  - 90 counsels of prudence or worldly wisdom. The themes of moderation and f o r t i t u d e were also i l l u s t r a t e d and developed  to some extent.  Second Category.-Marie de France was interested i n r e l i g i o u s questions.  The "morals" of Fable XXV and Fable  XXII revealed a b e l i e f i n a supernatural realm or a Divine Power.  Four other fables belonging to t h i s category were  r e a l l y amusing anecdotes to which a c h r i s t i a n moral had been attached.  The picturesque d e t a i l s of these fables,  however, should not lead us to suppose that the fables were written only to entertain. Three of these  last-mentioned  fables were concerned with the expression of b e l i e f i n a Divine Power (Fables LIV, LV, and XCIX). Third Category.-The theme of the wickedness of women was i l l u s t r a t e d and developed (Fables XLV and LXXII).  f u l l y only i n two fables  In both fables the moral i m p l i c i t  i n the narrative, i s made e x p l i c i t i n the moral. Fourth Category.-"li nunsachant"—the ignorant. This theme provided material f o r three f a b l e s . F i f t h Category.-"li f o i s " — t h e f o o l i s h or stupid. This theme provided material f o r f i v e f a b l e s . Sixth Category.-The themes of certain s p e c i f i c sins or vices were examined, among which the most often mentioned were:-  malice, greed, covetousness,  miserliness, treachery  (or deceit), robbery, t h e f t , slander, presumption, pride, and envy.  Whereas i n the Fabliaux, lechery i s the most often  - 91 mentioned s i n , i n the Fables, deceit, pride, and covetousness appear to be mentioned equally often. A review of the s i x categories suggested f o r the Fables of Marie de France reveals the poetess* wide range of i n t e r e s t s .  Parts of the Prologue and the Epilogue have already been discussed i n Chapter I . Three passages are of i n t e r e s t f o r the present  chapter,  however. In l i n e s 1-10 o f the Prologue . Marie de France writes that scholars should give t h e i r attention to those good books and writings where exempla and proverbs were set down by the ancient philosophers who wrote with a view to the moral and s p i r i t u a l improvement of themselves and others. C i l , k i sevent de l e t r e u r e , devreient bien metre l u r cure es bons l i v r e s e es e s c r i z e es essamples e es d i z , que l i philosophe troverent e e s c r i s t r e n t e remembrerent. Par moralite escriveient l e s bons proverbes q u i l oeient, que c i l amender s'en poisseht k i l u r entente en bien mei'ssent. Ceo f i r e n t l i ancien pere. f  In l i n e s 23-26, Marie points out that many an entert a i n i n g anecdote i s followed up by a moral, and the whole meaning of the fable i s not i n the narrative: mes n ' i a fable de f o l i e u i l nen a i t philosophie es essamples k i sunt apres, u des cuntes est tuz l i f e s .  - 92 L a s t l y , i n the Epilogue, Marie states i n the l a s t three l i n e s that she prays to God that she may be able to devote a l l her energies to such a work and that she may die i n peace.  An alternative reading f o r l i n e 21 would change the  meaning to the following:  and now I pray to God that I be  allowed to undertake t h i s work that I may die i n peace.  x  In a preceding paragraph, the wide range of Marie's i n t e r e s t s was noted.  I t i s , however, the combination of  Marie's wide range of i n t e r e s t s and her single-mindedness which make the Fables an outstanding contribution to French l i t e r a t u r e of the Twelfth Century.  The underlying seriousness  of purpose i n her work, her concern with the problems of good and e v i l , f o l l y and wisdom, become more apparent as one reads the  whole c o l l e c t i o n of Fables.  Further evidence of her single-  mindedness i s to be found i n the Prologue (lines 1-10), and the l a s t three l i n e s of the Epilogue.  It i s difficult,  after  reading these l i n e s , to believe that Marie de France wrote the Fables with a view to entertainment alone, even i f prologue and epilogue show the usual conventional l i t e r a r y forms. Marie de France's seriousness of purpose, or moral concern i s , of course, i n complete accord with the medieval e t h i c , where s i n plays such an important r o l e .  In the s i x  categories discussed above, the part played by the concept  'Karl Warnke, The F a b l e s — E p i l o g u e , l i n e s 20-21, p. 328: Or p r i a deu omnipotent qu'a t e l uevre me doinst entendre S21 que t e l oeure me l a i s t  enprendre  - 93 of s i n i s , indeed, considerable. the  In the f i r s t category,  moral f a i l i n g or sins of feudal lords and of judges  i n court are mentioned again and again. already been l i s t e d .  These sins have  In the second category ( r e l i g i o u s  themes) the s i n of pride or presumption seems to be the chief one depicted.  In the t h i r d category, the wickedness  of women i s the s i n p o r t r a y e d — a s i n o r i g i n a l l y i l l u s t r a t e d i n the t h i r d chapter of Genesis as pride and envy.  In the  fourth category, ignorance, although not a s i n i n i t s e l f , may lead to s i n , as may foolishness ( f i f t h category), or moral weakness.  In the s i x t h category an analysis of themes  involving s p e c i f i c sins i n the Fables was  attempted.  Marie de France, i n the l a s t two l i n e s of the Espurgatoire de Seint Patriz asks us to pray to God, that he may cleanse us a l l of our s i n s .  The fables, too, conclude  with a prayer to the Deity. Or p r i a deu omnipotent Qu*a t e l uevre me doinst entendre Que jeo l i puisse m alme rendre f  However, on t h i s occasion, Marie appears to be concerned about her own soul rather than about that of others. In order to ensure the salvation of her soul she must, among other things, devote a l l her energies to w r i t i n g .  She makes  the  23-25).  same point i n the Prologue to the Lais (lines Ki de vice se vuelt defendre estudier deit e entendre e grevose oeure comencier.  Only by hard work can she ward o f f s i n .  - 94 I t would seem, then, that Marie's motives i n writing the Fables were, as might be expected, complex.  She  c e r t a i n l y wished to entertain, f o r although a fable exemplif i e s a moral t h e s i s , i t i s b a s i c a l l y a story about animals or human beings who t a l k and act.  However, the writing (or  t r a n s l a t i o n ) of these Fables could be hard work. welcomed t h i s fact f o r r e l i g i o u s reasons.  Marie  Thus, Marie,  to some extent, l i k e the copyists i n the monastic s c r i p t o r i a , was stimulated by the hope of eternal rewards, when she wrote the Fables.  Here, then, i s a r e a l point of contact  between the Espurgatoire and the Fables on the one hand, and between the Fables and the L a i s , on the other.  Her motives  i n writing these works, as f a r as we can judge, appear, to some extent, t o have been s i m i l a r .  CHAPTER V THE LAIS I t i s the intention of the writer to deal with seven of the Lais of Marie de France i n t h i s chapter. L a i s are:  The  Lanval, Yonec, Guigemar, Les Deus Amanz, Laostie,  and C h e v r e f o i l .  In a subsequent chapter, the writer w i l l  discuss the remaining f i v e L a i s :  l e Fraisne, B i s c l a v r e t ,  Equitan, and C h a i t i v e l , where Marie de France has elaborated most f u l l y upon the themes of s i n and of s a i n t l i n e s s . The  seven L a i s — L a n v a l , Yonec, Guigemar, Milun, l e s  Deus Amanz, and C h e v r e f o i l — f o r m  a group which can be further  subdivided into ( l ) Lanval, Yonec. Guigemar. (2) Milun. Laostie, Chevrefoil, and (3) Les Deus Amanz. magic elements are to be found i n the f i r s t  F a i r y - t a l e and three—Lanval,  Yonec, Guigemar—hence they are grouped together.  The other  three L a i s — L a o s t i e , C h e v r e f o i l . and Milun belong to a group of symbolic l a y s .  Les Deus Amanz i s best treated  as i t can not be c l a s s i f i e d i n either group.  separately  I t i s now  desirable to compare some of the lays, just as l a t e r , i t w i l l be necessary to compare a l l the works of Marie de France. With t h i s end i n view, the writer proposes to describe the content of each lay and discuss i t s magic elements, i f there -  9 5  -  - 96 are any.  The motif of destiny and the theme of s i n can  also be traced i n each of the seven lays.  In t h i s way i t  i s hoped to reveal the complexity of Marie de France's L a i s , f o r although Marie sometimes achieves effects of great s i m p l i c i t y and beauty, the s i m p l i c i t y i s only apparent. In the L a i of Lanval, King Arthur i s sojourning at Carlisle.  He had been waging war against the P i c t s and the  Scots, who were now i n Logres.  At Easter, the King married  o f f some of h i s Barons, Counts, and Knights of the Round Table and d i s t r i b u t e d g i f t s .  He f a i l e d to reward one knight,  however, a foreigner, Lanval, who was a King's son. One day Lanval mounted h i s steed and rode f o r t h out of the c i t y .  Having reached a meadow, where a swift stream  flowed, he saw two f a i r damsels approaching him, one carrying a basin of f i n e l y wrought gold, the other a towel.  The  ladies informed Lanval that t h e i r mistress wished to see him.  Lanval was led to a magnificent tent, i n which he  beheld a lady, whose beauty surpassed the l i l y or the blown rose, when they flower i n summer.  new-  This f a i r lady,  who was, of course, a f a i r y , t o l d Lanval that she loved him. Lanval g a l l a n t l y r e p l i e d that there was nothing that she might command that he would not do to the best of his a b i l i t y , be the thing f o l l y or wisdom.  The f a i r y t o l d him he need  only desire something to have i t .  He must not reveal h i s  secret, however, to anyone, otherwise he would lose her forever.  Whenever he wished to speak to her she would appear,  - 97  although she would be v i s i b l e to no other man.  Lanval,  having supped with the lady and her damsels, kissed her tenderly and l e f t .  On returning t o the c i t y , he found  that h i s men were a l l well-clad and equipped. lavished g i f t s on f r i e n d and stranger a l i k e .  Lanval He was very  happy f o r he could see h i s f a i r y mistress, whenever he wished. In that same year, a f t e r the Feast of St. John, Lanval was i n v i t e d one day to j o i n t h i r t y other knights i n an orchard below the tower where Queen Guinivere had her lodging.  When the queen saw Lanval alone, she decided to  keep him company and sat down beside him.  She t o l d him she  had always admired and cherished him and she offered him her love.  Lanval refused her o f f e r , however; he claimed he did  not wish to betray h i s l i e g e - l o r d , the King.  The queen  a n g r i l y retorted that the reports she had heard about him must be true, that he had no l i k i n g f o r women. would prefer the company of h i s v a l e t s . denied the accusation.  No doubt, he  Lanval v i o l e n t l y  He loved a lady, he said, whose  poorest waiting-woman was more beautiful i n every way than the queen.  The l a t t e r departed i n t e a r s . When the king  rejoined h i s wife, the queen complained attempted to seduce her.  that Lanval had  On being repelled, he (Lanval)  had claimed that he knew a f a i r lady whose lowliest waitingwoman was more b e a u t i f u l than she (the queen).  The king  swore solemnly that i f the knight could not defend himself  - 93 i n court, he would be hanged or burnt.  Lanval, i n the  meantime was overcome with anguish and despair, f o r i n the heated a l t e r c a t i o n with the queen he had revealed his secret and could no longer see h i s fairy-mistress whenever he wished. Lanval denied the accusation that he had betrayed his l i e g e - l o r d , but he admitted the truth of h i s boast ("vantance") about his lady.  Gn the day appointed f o r his  t r i a l , the Duke of Cornwall suggested that Lanval should be put upon h i s oath.  I f he could prove that what he had said  was true, then he would be pardoned.  I f , however, he could  not prove the truth of h i s assertion, then he would be informed that the King no longer required h i s services and he would be banished from the court. The barons and knights were about to pronounce judgement, when they saw two very beautiful maidens come r i d i n g on white palfreys.  The ladies addressed the king courteously,  asking him to assign rooms, where t h e i r mistress might lodge that evening.  The king agreed to t h e i r request and the  barons continued with t h e i r deliberations.  Two more maidens  appeared, of noble mien and clad i n gold-embroidered Many thought them more beautiful than the queen.  robes.  These  l a d i e s also asked f o r rooms and the king again agreed to the request.  He then asked the barons to pass judgement  on Lanval speedily. Once more the barons were about to give a verdict when the most beautiful lady appeared, mounted on a white  - 99  palfrey.  Her raiment was white and she was laced on  either side.  She had blue eyes and f a i r curly h a i r .  Her  mantle was of s i l k , a hawk rested on her w r i s t , and a hound followed behind her.  Old and young looked at her eagerly.  The lady dismounted i n front of the king and l e t her mantle f a l l , that a l l might see her better.  "King Arthur"  she said, " I have loved one of your knights, Lanval. not wish any harm to b e f a l l him.  I do  The queen has wrongly  accused him, f o r he never asked her f o r her love.  As to the  boast he made, l e t the barons and knights decide whether he be g u i l t y or not."  Thereupon a l l those present decided  that Lanval had defended himself successfully. Outside the h a l l there was a block o f marble which the knights of King Arthur's court used when they wished to mount t h e i r steeds.  Lanval stood thereupon and as h i s  fairy-mistress rode past he sprang s w i f t l y behind her on the palfrey.  They l e f t f o r the f a i r i s l a n d of Avalon and no one  has ever heard of Lanval since. l  n  Lanval, the f a i r y - t a l e element i s very prominent.  During the f i r s t h a l f of the story the f a i r y can be seen only by Lanval.  Towards the end of the court scene, however,  she i s v i s i b l e to a l l .  Before Lanval meets the f a i r y , there  i s l i t t l e to indicate that the fairy-world i s about to reveal i t s e l f to him. Marie has, however, written the l i n e "Mes sis one.  cheval tremble forment"—a short l i n e , but an e f f e c t i v e The f a i r y herself i s described thus:-  - 100 F l u r de l i s e rose nuvele, quant ele pert e l tens d'este, trespassot ele de bealte. y  The reader, however, sometimes f e e l s that he i s seeing a Twenlfth Century beauty rather than a f a i r y .  The r e s u l t s  of the f a i r y ' s g i f t s of gold and s i l v e r are obvious when Lanval returns to h i s hostel, and the more l i b e r a l l y he spends, the f a s t e r h i s gold and s i l v e r supplies increase. The f i r s t pair of beautiful maidens who  come r i d i n g  on white palfreys, as the court i s deliberating Lanval's case, transport us to the world of magic again.  They are  followed by two more maidens, perhaps more b e a u t i f u l , then the f a i r y (Lanval's mistress) dismounts i n front of King Arthur and reveals her beauty to a l l .  The blending of the  world of r e a l i t y and the world of magic i s only temporary— there i s no real fusion.  As soon as the f a i r y has done  what she can to exonerate Lanval of the Queen's charges, she departs, and Lanval leaps on the steed as i t moves s w i f t l y away. two d i f f e r e n t  The world of magic and the r e a l world are realms.  In the following pages, the writer intends to use the word destiny i n the sense of an inevitable succession of events (as determined  supernaturally or by necessity).  The destiny motif appears again and again i n Marie's L a i s . Lanval's c o n f l i c t with the queen endangers h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p with h i s fairy-mistress f o r t h e i r secret must be kept at a l l costs.  When the queen accuses Lanval of perversity,  - 101 however, he makes the boast ("vantance") i n a b l i n d rage. Because of t h i s "vantance" Lanval must l a t e r face the charges l e v e l l e d against him by the King, that he has t r i e d to  seduce the Queen and that he has insulted her.  The  "vantance" also means that he has broken h i s promise to his  fairy-mistress and has, therefore, l o s t her temporarily. Lanval's s i n ( i n the sense of a misdemeanor or a  f a u l t ) i s , of course, his boast.  A boast usually suggests  pride or s a t i s f a c t i o n i n one's a b i l i t i e s or acts, but here Lanval i s proud mainly of having such a f r i e n d as the "Fee," or perhaps of having been chosen by her as a lover.  The  f a u l t l i e s i n the fact that he has given expression to t h i s pride and has thus broken h i s promise to h i s lady. the  However,  breaking of t h i s promise has occurred i n a moment of  rage, almost i n spite of himself. Hence the f a i r y appears at the t r i a l i n order to help the barons make the right decision at the t r i a l . The s i n i n Lanval i s a simple f a u l t or misdemeanor. It i s , i n no sense, a theological s i n . In the L a i of Yonec the reader learns that Carwent once l a y on the stream of the Duelas. one time a navigable waterway.  This stream was at  The aged Lord of Carwent  had married a beautiful young woman, whom he kept a v i r t u a l prisoner i n a tower, because he was jealous; the lord's aged s i s t e r was the only company she had.  After seven years of  such i s o l a t i o n , the lady's beauty began to fade and she  - 102 wished f o r nothing more ardently than death.  One  spring  morning, when her husband had l e f t the c a s t l e i n pursuit of game and h i s s i s t e r was b u s i l y engaged i n reading her psalter i n another room, she began to complain b i t t e r l y of her f a t e . According to Breton legend, c e r t a i n noble l a d i e s and valiant young knights used to meet and make love. i n v i s i b l e to a l l but t h e i r l a d i e s .  The knights were  I f only God would allow  her such a handsome young loverI thought the lady.  Hardly  had she uttered these words, when a hawk with thongs strapped to i t s feet came f l y i n g through the window, s e t t l e d down i n front of the lady and changed into a handsome knight. The knight informed the lady that he had loved her f o r a long time. him; now,  But he could only come to her i f she f i r s t he could be her l o v e r .  But the lady would not  heed h i s request f o r her love unless he could convince that he believed i n God.  called  her  The knight promised to partake of  the sacrament and say the Credo; l e t the lady, he suggested, pretend to be i l l and c a l l upon the priest f o r Holy Communion. The husband's s i s t e r refused the lady's request f o r a priest at f i r s t , but when she beheld the lady i n a swoon and heard her mention the word death, she hastened to fetch the p r i e s t . Thus the knight having assumed the lady's "semblance" r e ceived Holy Communion from the priest's hand.  Muldumarec  (such was the knight's name) and the lady then made love. Muldumarec promised to come to her as often as she wished, but she must be prudent; he had a presentiment that  - 103  -  the husband's s i s t e r would betray them and that he would die as a r e s u l t . her beauty.  The lovers met  often and the lady recovered  Her husband, n o t i c i n g the change i n her, d i s -  cussed the matter with h i s s i s t e r to whom he gave instructions to spy on h i s wife, with a view to discovering what was happening.  Muldumarec's presence was  husband's s i s t e r , who  discovered by the  immediately informed her brother.  The  deceived husband had k n i f e - l i k e prongs i n s t a l l e d at the window where the hawk-knight usually entered. On the following morning the husband ostensibly departed f o r a day's hunting.  The hawk, as usual, flew  through the window but was f a t a l l y injured by the prongs. The hawk-knight, who he was going to die. who  was bleeding profusely, t o l d the lady He t o l d her that she would bear a son  would avenge them both.  The knight l e f t the lady,  followed him a l i t t l e l a t e r to an entrance mountain.  who  at the side of a  Then she crossed a meadow and saw a c i t y , whose  houses were a l l s i l v e r and a r i v e r where a great number of ships l a y at anchor.  The city-gates were open and the lady  had only to follow the traces of her lover's blood to reach a palace.  She passed through two rooms, i n each of which a  knight l a y asleep.  In the t h i r d room she found her  l y i n g on a magnificent bed.  beloved  He t o l d her he was going to die  at noon and urged her to leave.  She might be i n danger.  His people knew that he was dying because of her love.  He  then gave her a r i n g , explaining that as long as she wore i t ,  - 104 her  husband would forget the past.  He also gave her a  sword, which she was to hand over to t h e i r son, l a t e r whai he would be a young man. and  Muldumarec then f o r e t o l d that she  her son and her husband would go on a pilgrimage to  Karlion.  In an abbey they would f i n d a tomb and the monks  would t e l l her how he (Muldumarec) met h i s death.  I t would  be necessary then, f o r the lady to t e l l her son the whole story of t h e i r love and t h e i r betrayal and to give the son the  sword. The lady, on her way home, heard b e l l s ringing.  The people were mourning t h e i r King Muldumarec, who had just died. her  The lady fainted several times.  Having reached  husband's home she noticed that he made no reference  to what had happened, nor d i d he reprove her f o r her conduct. The son, Yonec, grew up to be a splendid youth and was duly dubbed Knight. In the same year that Yonec became a knight, the lady, her husband, and her son traveled to S t . Aaron.  At  Karlion a young boy l e d them to the Abbey, where they spent a night.  On the following morning the Abbot i n v i t e d them  to prolong t h e i r stay another day and v i s i t the Abbey. the  In  chapter-room they found a newly decorated tomb; twenty  candles burned night and day i n t h i s room.  The t r a v e l l e r s  were t o l d that the l o r d of Karlion was buried there.  He  died because of h i s love f o r a lady and the people were s t i l l waiting f o r h i s son to appear and rule h i s kingdom.  - 105  -  On hearing t h i s , the lady understood i t was time to aet. She t o l d her son the story of her l i f e and her love f o r his father Muldumaree.  She then handed over the sword and  f e l l dead upon the tomb of her beloved.  The son gripped  his sword and cut o f f h i s step-father*s head, thus avenging the death of both parents.  Yonec became King of Karlfon.  The magic element i s again very prominent i n Yonec. where a hawk with thongs strapped to i t s feet comes f l y i n g through a window and then changes into a handsome young knight.  The l a t t e r could not have appeared at a l l , had the  lady not called him.  He assumes the l a d y s "semblance" to  partake of the Sacrament.  T  When the hawk-knight i s f a t a l l y  wounded and departs f o r h i s kingdom, the lady follows him into h i s s i l v e r c i t y or magic realm.  He gives the lady a  r i n g , which w i l l make her husband forget the past as long as she wears i t . The destiny motif i s equally prominent.  The  lady  i s destined to spend seven years i n the i s o l a t i o n of her tower.  "Mult est dure ma destinee," she complains.  On  another occasion the hawk-knight asserts that he knows the husband's s i s t e r w i l l betray him and that he (Muldumaree) w i l l die.  He also f o r e t e l l s that the lady and her son w i l l  be shown h i s tomb ( i . e . Muldumarec's) at an abbey.  The  lovers are joined together i n death at the end of the l a y and yet t h e i r love l i v e s on, as i t were, i n Yonec, who become King of K a r l i o n .  has  - 106 The lady's changed looks are the cause of the hawk-knight's death.  Muldumarec had warned her to t r y  not t o show her love, f o r t h i s would surely bring about his death.  This, then, i s her s i n ( i n the sense of a f a u l t  or misdemeanor).  Again, i t i s i n no sense a theological s i n .  Pur vostre amur pere jeo l a vie I Bien l e vus dis qu'en avendreit, vostre semblant nus o c i r e i t . Muldumarec had also counselled moderation, Mes t e l l e mesure esgardez, que nus ne seium eneumbrez. f o r too much love (and the manifestation of love) would bring death. In the L a i of Guigemar  t  the hero, who was a son of  O r i d i a l s , grew up at King Hoel's court i n Britanny.  Having  become a valiant knight, he l e f t h i s country to seek fame i n other lands.  He had only one f a i l i n g .  He could not f e e l  a f f e c t i o n or love f o r any woman. After Guigemar had returned to Britanny, he went o f f one morning i n pursuit of game. drew upon a white hind.  He stretched his bow and  His arrow struck the animal's hoof,  but rebounded and pierced his thigh, thus compelling him to dismount.  Then the white hind spoke, saying that he (Guigemar)  would never be cured of h i s wound u n t i l such time as he should meet a lady, who would love him and whom he would love, but t h i s love would bring such suffering to both of them as i s seldom experienced by men and women.  Guigemar then f e l t  that he should leave h i s companions and wandered on u n t i l  - 107 he came to a r i v e r he did not recognize, where a splendid ship awaited him. bed i n the ship. to move.  He rested f o r a while on a magnificent When he arose from the bed the ship started  Later i n the day, i t arrived at a c a s t l e near an  ancient c i t y , which was the c a p i t a l of the country. l o r d of t h i s c i t y was his  an old man who,  wife l i t t l e freedom.  night and day.  being jealous, allowed  At the foot of the donjon was  garden (shut i n on a l l s i d e s ) . marble, high and t h i c k .  The  a  The walls were of green  There was only one entrance guarded  On the fourth side was the sea.  No one  was  allowed to approach his wife, save the lady's niece, and old  priest who  attended to her s p i r i t u a l needs.  an  On the  evening that Guigemar arrived at the c a s t l e , the lady and her niece were i n the garden.  They saw the ship, boarded  i t out of c u r i o s i t y , and soon found themselves standing i n front of the wounded knight.  They thought Guigemar was  dead, but the knight awoke and t o l d them h i s story.  He  invoked so much sympathy from his audience, that the l a d i e s offered to lodge him u n t i l h i s recovery.  The l a d i e s led  him to the castle, bound up h i s wound and nursed him so well that soon Guigemar's wound healed, but he f e l l i n love with the lady.  Guigemar f e l t that i f h i s love were not returned  he would surely die.  He f i r s t discussed his passion with  the lady's niece, who was  very devoted to her aunt.  niece promised to help i f she could.  The  When the lady returned  from Mass one morning, Guigemar confessed h i s love to her.  - 108 As she was enamoured of the knight and r e a l i s e d the s i n c e r i t y of h i s f e e l i n g s , she granted him her love. For a year and a h a l f the two lovers l i v e d together happily. One morning, however, the lady had a foreboding that fate would soon separate her from her l o v e r . She, therefore, t i e d a knot i n h i s s h i r t and made him promise that he would never love any other woman than the one who could untie the knot without cutting i t .  In the same way  the knight encircled her waist with a g i r d l e and asked her to marry only that knight who could open the clasp of the g i r d l e without destroying i t .  One day a chamberlain,  discovering the lovers, reported the matter to the lady's husband, who appeared with three of his men.  Guigemar  t o l d him his story, but the husband would not believe him. He challenged him to show him the magic ship.  Guigemar  departed i n search of the ship, which he found waiting f o r him.  The ship carried him back to h i s native Britanny.  Guigemar was welcomed by a l l h i s f r i e n d s , but he remained depressed because he was now separated from his lady. Guigemar's vassals and friends t o l d him he should marry, but he always answered that he would only marry the lady who could untie the knot of h i s s h i r t .  Not one of the young  ladies i n Britanny, who made the attempt, was successful. For two years Guigemar's f r i e n d remained a prisoner i n the tower.  Then one day she l e f t despite a l l the bolts  and bars i n the c a s t l e .  She wanted to drown h e r s e l f , f o r  - 109 she had been very unhappy during these past two years. However, she found the magic ship, which had already conveyed Guigemar twice, awaiting her.  When she had gone on  board i t s a i l e d away and continued u n t i l i t arrived i n front of a castle belonging to a knight called Meriaduc, who f e l l i n love with the lady immediately.  Meriaduc wooed her i n  vain, f o r he could not unclasp the g i r d l e , t r y as he might. Many of the knights made the attempt, but they a l l f a i l e d . Meriaduc was engaged i n m i l i t a r y operations against a neighboring l o r d .  He, therefore, held a tournament to which  he i n v i t e d many valiant knights, including Guigemar, to help him defeat the enemy. met h i s f r i e n d once more. another.  Thus, i t came about that Guigemar They dared hardly speak to one  Meriaduc noticed t h e i r strange conduct and mockingly  suggested that the lady undo the knot of Guigemar s s h i r t . 1  This she performed with complete success. recognized the g i r d l e she was wearing.  Guigemar then  He explained the  s i t u a t i o n to those around him and asked Meriaduc to give him back h i s f r i e n d .  He would serve under Meriaduc with  his men f o r two or three years, i f necessary.  Meriaduc  refused and Guigemar declared war on him. A l l the knights i n the c i t y decided to support Guigemar and go over to Meriaduc s enemy. T  Meriaduc s Castle was beleaguered, the T  defenders starved into submission, and the garrison k i l l e d . Guigemar was, at l a s t , united with h i s beloved. s u f f e r i n g was over.  Their  - 1  1  0 -  In Guigemar, as opposed to the two f a i r y - l a y s of Lanval and Yonec, both the hero and heroine are human beings. The lady i s probably not a f a i r y , even i f she i s able to leave the castle where she has been imprisoned f o r so long behind bolts and bars.  Marie also writes of Meriaduc and  his chamberlain. Dedenz unt l a dame trovee, K i de belte* resemble fee. There i s i n s u f f i c i e n t evidence, however, i n the L a i to warrant the assumption that she i s meant to be a f a i r y . F a i r y - t a l e elements are c l e a r l y discernible i n t h i s lay, however—the white hind or roe that speaks, the unfamiliar r i v e r , the magic s h i p — f o r example.  The wound  from which Guigemar suffers must be viewed symbolically or magically.  The pain seems to compel him to leave h i s  companions and he i s drawn towards the r i v e r to the ship. By the time he reaches the r i v e r h i s f a m i l i a r world has disappeared. 1 4 5 - 1 5 1  Jeanne Lods has c l a r i f i e d considerably l i n e s  of Guigemar.  The changes of punctuation suggested  are indeed important, f o r they make i t quite clear that the stream, which Guigemar knew, has become a magic r i v e r with a harbour f o r ships.  I t i s the presence of the " t r e f "  which worries Guigemar not the fact that i t i s a p i l o t l e s s conveyance.  Guigemar*s f a m i l i a r surroundings have to change  before he can experience r e a l love. »  1  4  5  fc  ^Jeanne Lods, "New Interpretation of Guigemar, v. 5 0 , " Romania. LXXVTI, 1 9 5 6 . 2  See Appendix C.  - Ill The destiny motif again appears i n the L a i of Guigemar.  The hero, at f i r s t , r e j e c t s the love of a l l  "dames et puceles," but the symbolism of knot and g i r d l e would also seem to indicate that Guigemar and his lady were destined f o r one a n o t h e r — t h e i r love excludes a l l other possible loves (e.g. the lady does not love her husband or Meriaduc—none of the l a d i e s i n Britanny can undo the knot i n Guigemar's s h i r t ) .  Guigemar i s t o l d by the dying  white hind about his destiny.  He w i l l suffer from h i s  wounds u n t i l he meets a woman whom he loves and who w i l l love him.  They w i l l both have to suffer, however, before  attaining happiness together.  F r i e d r i c h Schurr has  suggested that the basic theme i n Guigemar i s to be found i n the a l l e g o r i c a l painting on the w a l l , where the goddess Venus i s depicted as throwing into the f i r e the Remedia Amoris of Ovid.  Venus i s seen excommunicating a l l those  who ever read t h i s book or who carry out i t s teaching. Guigemar*s destiny was to love a p a r t i c u l a r l a d y .  1  The s i n i n Guigemar i s more than indifference to love; i t i s probably, as F. Schurr asserts, a s t r i v i n g against or a resistance to love.  Schurr believes that the  destiny which was foretold by the speaking white hind to Guigemar, was partly intended as necessary atonement f o r o r i g i n a l s i n , but also as punishment f o r his hubris which  F r i e d r i c h Schurr, "Komposition und Symbolik i n den Lais der Marie de France," Z e i t s c h r i f t f u r Romanische Philologie, L, 1930, p. 560.  - 112 i s the cause of h i s resistance to love.  This writer would  agree that the s i n i n Guigemar was arrogance, or excessive pride, and that i t might be considered a theological s i n . Milun, a most valiant knight, was born i n South Wales.  His fame had spread to Ireland, Norway, Gotland,  England, and Scotland.  A young lady, who had heard of his  valour, became enamoured of him and offered him her love. Milun sent her a r i n g as a symbol of h i s own love f o r her. They met often and made love.  The lady became pregnant.  Milun's f r i e n d feared greatly the punishments meted out against women who have a c h i l d , born out of wedlock. She and Milun agreed that the c h i l d should be sent, as soon as i t was born, to the lady's s i s t e r i n Northumbria.  A bracelet,  along with a l e t t e r of explanation, would be attached to the c h i l d ' s neck.  When the time came the newly-born c h i l d  was taken as arranged to Northumbria, where h i s aunt was happy t o adopt him.  Milun then l e f t the country again to  win fame i n foreign wars.  During h i s absence his f r i e n d  was married o f f by her father to a r i c h baron.  When Milun  returned he was distressed to hear about h i s friend's p l i g h t . Milun wrote a l e t t e r , which he hid under the feathers of a swan.  His squire, disguised as a fowler, obtained an i n t e r -  view with the lady, ostensibly to gain the lady's support and protection for h i s c a l l i n g , and handed over the swan. The lady f e l t the l e t t e r and guessed at once that i t was Milun*s.  She gave the messenger many r i c h g i f t s , dismissed  - 113 him, then read the l e t t e r .  Thus the swan came to be used  as an intermediary between Milun and h i s f r i e n d .  Milun  would feed the swan well f o r some time, then he would l e t i t starve f o r three days before i t flew away with a l e t t e r . The lady also sent Milun l e t t e r s with the help of the swan. Thus, the lovers were able to meet on several occasions. Twenty years passed by.  Meanwhile, Milun's son  had become a handsome, valiant knight.  His aunt gave him  the r i n g and the l e t t e r which she had o r i g i n a l l y received from h i s parents.  The son wished to be the equal of his  father i n knightly prowess, so he set out to win fame.  He  set s a i l from Southampton, l a t e r reaching Barbefluet i n France.  Soon he acquired a reputation as a knight, f o r he  entertained l a v i s h l y . man,  When Milun heard about t h i s young  a f e e l i n g of i l l - w i l l overcame him at the  that another should be so highly esteemed.  thought  Milun decided  to meet the stranger i n combat, then he would seek out h i s son.  M i l u n s friend approved the plan. 1  He crossed over  to Normandy and to Britanny and soon his fame began to spread also.  A tournament was being held at Mont St. Michel.  were many Normans, Bretons, Flemings, and French, but English knights. whom Milun now  few  Among the l a t t e r was the young knight,  saw f o r the f i r s t time.  but the young man  Here  Milun fought well,  received the most praise and acclaim.  Milun, having decided to joust with t h i s young knight, dealt him such a blow that the shaft of the knight's lance was broken i n pieces.  On the other hand, Milun was unhorsed  - 114 by h i s opponent.  When the stranger saw Milun's grey h a i r  and beard beneath h i s v i s o r , he regretted having him.  unsaddled  Milun then noticed the young knight's r i n g and  him about h i s parents.  asked  Before the stranger could f i n i s h  his story, Milun had excitedly informed him that he (the young knight) was h i s son. his father.  The son dismounted and embraced  The spectators were then given an explanation  of what was happening.  Many of them wept with joy.  Milun  t o l d h i s son how he had loved h i s mother and how the swan had been the intermediary f o r t h e i r love over a long period. Milun's son stated he would unite h i s parents and k i l l the husband of Milun's f r i e n d . On the return journey to England, however, Milun received the news that h i s friend's husband had died. and h i s son were urged to hasten home.  Milun  Thus Milun and the  lady were at l a s t united by t h e i r son. In Milun, there are no f a i r y - t a l e elements, and the themes of s i n and destiny are c l o s e l y r e l a t e d .  The s i n i s  presumably that the young g i r l i n the story has offered herself to the man  she loves.  The son i s born out of wedlock.  As marriage i s a r e l i g i o u s sacrament, where the rights and obligations of both partners are stressed, the s i n i n Milun might be considered t h e o l o g i c a l . I t i s the destiny of the lovers to be parted f o r a long period of time although they are able to meet on several occasions.  When Milun's f r i e n d has given b i r t h to a boy,  - 115 the l a t t e r i s immediately taken to Northumbria, where an aunt adopts him and brings him up.  This measure i s found  to be necessary because the law of the country deals severely with mothers whose o f f s p r i n g are born out of wedlock— M i l u n s f r i e n d might have been put to the sword or sold i n 1  foreign lands. Destiny leads Milun's son, who  has become a valiant  knight, to meet his father i n combat at Mont St. Michel. On t h e i r return homewards Milun receives a message from his f r i e n d that her husband has died (Milun's son i s therefore not destined to k i l l h i s mother's husband).  Thus, as  Leo S p i t z e r has stated, "Die Liebenden werden durch das 1  Kind, das i h r e r Verbindung.entstammt, geeint," and l a t e r he writes:  "der moralisch lautere Sohn gibt dem Vater die  Mutter." In the L a i of Laostie two knights, who l i v e d i n St. Malo. i n t e l l i g e n t wife.  One  were neighbours,  of the knights had a b e a u t i f u l ,  The other, a batchelor, had become attached  to her and the lady returned h i s a f f e c t i o n .  The lovers could  often see one another and speak to each other. wisely and d i s c r e e t l y .  They loved  With the a r r i v a l of summer the lady  and her f r i e n d f e l t more than ever the power of love.  During  the night, the lady would often leave her husband's side to stand at a window i n order to see her lover.  In the  end,  Leo Spitzer, "Marie de France - Dichterin von Problem-Marchen," Z e i t s e h r i f t f u r Romanische P h i l o l o g i e , 1930, L, 34.  - 116  -  her husband became angry and he asked her what she doing.  She r e p l i e d she was  nightingale.  I t was  l i s t e n i n g to the song of the  a b e a u t i f u l song, she must l i s t e n to  i t , rather than sleep. the nightingale.  The husband then decided to destroy  A l l kinds of contrivances  were i n s t a l l e d and bird-lime was of the trees.  was  (nets and snares)  plastered on a l l the branches  Soon he brought i n the l i t t l e b i r d , that h i s  wife might see i t .  "The  nightingale w i l l never disturb your  sleep again," he said, and he twisted the nightingale's neck, throwing the l i t t l e body at his wife so that appeared on her "Chainse."  bloodstains  The lady wept, then wrapped up  the l i t t l e body i n a velvet cloth embroidered with gold. She sent a valet to her lover, that he might receive the body of the nightingale and might learn how had met  i t s death.  The knight, who  was  the nightingale  very chivalrous and  well-mannered, had a casket made from gold and stones.  precious  The nightingale's body, having been placed i n s i d e ,  the casket was  sealed and the knight never parted with i t .  In L a o s t i c , destiny has brought the two  lovers  together, f o r the lady's husband and her lover are neighours. The lovers can see each other frequently and can converse. During the night, the lady leaves her husband's side to be near her lover. and jealous. to h i s s p i t e .  However, the husband becomes suspicious  The nightingale i s caught and becomes a victim The lady wraps up the body of the l i t t l e  in a velvet c l o t h and sends i t to her f r i e n d , who  has a  bird  - 117 precious casket made. placed i n s i d e .  The body of the nightingale i s  Having sealed the casket, the lady's lover  never parts with i t . Does the L a i Laostie r e a l l y have a happy ending? The nightingale i s a victim of love. of love.  The nightingale was  love be extinguished  I t i s also a symbol  b r u t a l l y murdered.  as easily?  But  can  From t h i s point of view,  i t might be held that the ending i s a happy one.  Yet  the  drops of blood on the lady's "Chainse" are also symbolical. They mean that happiness on earth of any kind must be paid f o r , and that human love i s f r a g i l e .  Further, although  the love r e l a t i o n s h i p i n the l a i appears to be Platonic, i t must be remembered that the Platonic ladder i s rather slippery. . For t h i s reason the writer would agree with Hoepffner when he writes: 1  attenuee, l a grande Idee  "On  reconnait, sous une forme  fondamentale des romans de T r i s t a n ,  l a mort, cruelle ranc.on d'un  amour coupable."  It seems to  t h i s writer that t h i s charming l a i , to be appreciated must be examined against such a background.  fully,  There i s no  happy ending and the s i n implied i s that of adultery. In the L a i of Ghevrefoil, King Mark had banished his nephew from his court.  T r i s t a n remained f o r a year i n  South Wales, but his love f o r Iseut soon compelled him to return to Cornwall.  There he l i v e d alone i n the woods  Ernest Hoepffner, Les L a i s de Marie de France (Paris: Nizet, 1959), pp. 142-143. x  - lis  -  during the day, and at night lodged with peasants.  He  learned from them that a f e s t i v a l would be held at Tintagel, to which a l l the barons would be summoned, at Pentecost, and the queen would be there.  On the day when the queen  and her retinue were due to pass by the forest where T r i s t a n was hiding, the l a t t e r cut a square-shaped block of wood from a hazel t r e e — t h e n he carved his name upon a s t i c k . T r i s t a n had e a r l i e r written a l e t t e r  1  to the queen, i n which  he assured her that he could no longer l i v e without  her.  They were l i k e the honey-suckle and the hazel; neither could exist without the other.  T r i s t a n placed the s t i c k i n the  path where the royal procession would pass.  When the queen  saw the s t a f f , she gave her escort i n s t r u c t i o n s to halt and she dismounted, ostensibly, to rest a while with her f a i t h f u l servant Brenguein.  The lovers meet, to t h e i r great joy.  The queen t e l l s T r i s t a n that King Mark regrets having him from the court.  He w i l l soon be r e c a l l e d .  banished  The lovers  then take leave of one another and T r i s t a n returns to South Wales, where he intends to remain u n t i l such time as his uncle i n v i t e s him back to the court.  T r i s t a n composes a  l a i to commemorate the words, which he wrote to the queen and the joy he experienced  on seeing her again.  Tristan i s , of course, the knight of medieval legend, whom King Mark of Cornwall had e a r l i e r sent to Ireland to  The various interpretations of the message w i l l be discussed l a t e r .  - 119 -  bring back the princess Isolde (or Iseut) as the King's bride.  Isolde and Tristan unwittingly drank a magic potion,  which induced them t o f a l l i n love.  Ultimately, they died  together. The background to Marie de France's L a i , i . e . the events leading up to the s i t u a t i o n i n Marie's l a i , i s , therefore, one of predestination and s i n .  The lovers are  destined to drink the magic potion and are therefore destined to f a l l i n love with one another and l a t e r to commit adultery. This i s the s i n f o r which they pay the ransom of death. Like Marie's other l a i L a o s t i c , t h i s l a i only appears to end on a happy note. In Les Deus Amanz, Marie de France explains how a mountain c a l l e d " l e Mont des Deus Amanz," near P i t r e , i n Normandy, acquired i t s name. on the Seine.  A king once reigned at P i t r e  After his wife's death, t h i s king lavished  a l l h i s a f f e c t i o n upon an only daughter.  Because he d i d  not wish to marry her o f f , h i s subjects found f a u l t with his  conduct.  As he wished to silence h i s accusers, he l e t  i t be known everywhere that whoever wished to win the king's daughter, would have to carry her to the top of the mountain, outside the town, without pausing f o r a r e s t . t h i s ordeal, but none succeeded.  Many undertook  A handsome youth, who  l i v e d at the court, won the heart of the king's daughter. They loved one another s e c r e t l y .  The youth knew that the  task imposed upon him by the king would be beyond h i s strength.  - 120 -  He, therefore, suggested to his f r i e n d that they  elope.  The young lady would not agree to t h i s suggestion.  She did  not wish to hurt her father, whom she loved very much. She suggested that the youth go to Salerno, where she had an aunt, who was versed i n the medicinal q u a l i t i e s of herbs.  This  aunt would concoct a potion, which would give him s u f f i c i e n t strength to undertake the ordeal that had been i n s t i t u t e d by her father.  When the youth returned from I t a l y , he paid  the king a v i s i t and asked f o r his daughter's hand i n marriage. The king thought he was not strong enough t o undertake the ordeal, but he granted him permission to attempt i t . The young lady did everything possible to make the youth's task easier. In the presence of a l l the king's vassals and friends, the youth began, one day, to climb up the mountain, bearing i n his arms the king's daughter, who wore only a very l i g h t garment.  When he had advanced half-way up the mountain the  maiden f e l t that he was beginning to t i r e .  She suggested on  several occasions that he drink the potion, but he did not want to stop. unnerve him.  He claimed that the shouts of the crowd might Instead of drinking the potion, he could advance  three steps f a r t h e r .  The youth reached the top of the  mountain, but he had overstrained himself. died suddenly.  He f e l l down and  The young lady, thinking that he was un-  conscious, t r i e d t o place the phial between his l i p s that he might drink.  When she r e a l i s e d that he was dead, she  - 121 threw the p h i a l upon the mountain-side and the l i q u i d caused many f l o w e r s and herbs to s p r i n g up. k i s s e d her dead l o v e r ,  The young l a d y then  l a y down b e s i d e him and d i e d of a  broken h e a r t . The k i n g and h i s v a s s a l s mourned the sad f a t e of the l o v e r s and t h r e e days l a t e r the l o v e r s were b u r i e d at t o p of the mountain i n a marble  the  coffin.  The only magic element t h a t the poetess i n t r o d u c e s into t h i s l a i ,  i s t h a t of the p o t i o n which, when thrown  upon the mountain-side, causes f l o w e r s and herbs t o s p r i n g up. The k i n g ' s daughter i s d e s t i n e d not t o be g i v e n away i n marriage to any s u i t o r , although w i t h a view t o his vassals,  the King has i n s t i t u t e d the o r d e a l  satisfying  already  described. The youth knows q u i t e w e l l t h a t he cannot p o s s i b l y achieve success i n h i s u n d e r t a k i n g .  The f a c t t h a t he f i r s t  suggests an elopement, proves t h i s .  During the o r d e a l , the  y o u t h ' s f r i e n d urges him t o d r i n k the p o t i o n , but he makes what are probably specious e x c u s e s — e . g . i n s t e a d of d r i n k i n g he could advance t h r e e steps f a r t h e r ,  the n o i s e of the  people assembled below might d i s t u r b him.  The t r u t h i s  he wishes t o owe l i t t l e t o the s t r e n g t h - g i v i n g p o t i o n . wishes to reach the t o p of the mountain, u n a i d e d . a case of e x c e s s i v e l o v e , but i s i t a case of e x c e s s i v e p r i d e or h u b r i s ?  His  that He is  not a l s o to some extent  - 122 On the other hand, at f i r s t ,  the youth i s  prepared  t o s u f f e r , r a t h e r than act q u i c k l y or r a s h l y and t h e n i n h i s design ( l i n e s 68-70).  He concurs w i t h h i s  s u g g e s t i o n , t h a t he should go t o S a l e r n o .  fail  friend's  When he t e l l s  the  K i n g t h a t he wishes to attempt the o r d e a l , the K i n g t h i n k s it  v e r y unwise  ("mes mult l e t i n t  poetess h e r s e l f adds l a t e r , kar n ' o t  vaille,  The i n f e r e n c e t o be drawn  seems t o the w r i t e r  to be t h a t t h e r e i s more  "desmesure" and " f o l i e " than h u b r i s i n the p o r t r a i t lover.  the  "Mes jo criera que p o i ne l i  en l u i p o i n t de mesure."  from these f a c t s  a grant f o l i e " ) — t h e n  of  this  The f a c t t h a t he was o n l y a " d a m i s e l " i s an a d d i t i o n a l  reason f o r r e g r e t t i n g h i s m i s f o r t u n e .  The young l a d y ,  however,  who was not o n l y b e a u t i f u l , but a l s o s e n s i b l e , i s e n t i t l e d  to  the r e a d e r ' s compassion.  In a d d i t i o n t o d e s c r i b i n g the content of Marie de France's  seven l a i s  i n t h i s c h a p t e r , the w r i t e r  has a l s o  d i s c u s s e d , where t h i s was p o s s i b l e , the magic element, d e s t i n y m o t i f , and the theme o f s i n .  H i s aim was t o  the  reveal  the c o m p l e x i t y of these p a r t i c u l a r works o f Marie de F r a n c e . It  is f a i r l y  obvious t h a t t h e r e must be o t h e r threads i n  s t r a n d of c o m p l e x i t y , yet  perhaps these p a r t i c u l a r  magic elements, d e s t i n y m o t i f , and the theme of a l l o w us t o a r r i v e  this  threads—  sin—will  at c e r t a i n c o n c l u s i o n s now.  In L a n v a l the f a i r y i n a l l the o t h e r l a y s  element i s more prominent than  (with the p o s s i b l e e x c e p t i o n o f  Yonec).  - 123  -  As i n t e r e s t i n g as the f a i r y - w o r l d f u s i o n of two w o r l d s — t h e  of L a n v a l i s , i t i s the  f a i r y and the r e a l — w h i c h must be  conceived t o be Marie's most remarkable T h i s complex f u s i o n of two worlds  artistic  achievement.  i s t o be found, f o r example,  towards the end of the l a y , when the f a i r i e s make t h e i r appearance among the k n i g h t s and barons of King A r t h u r ' s Court.  Marie knows how  t o g i v e the s t o r y the s p i c e of v e r i -  similitude . Yet t h e r e i s a sense i n which the two worlds quite separate.  are  As has a l r e a d y been p o i n t e d out, as soon  as t h e f a i r y had done e v e r y t h i n g p o s s i b l e t o a c q u i t L a n v a l of those charges that had been l e v e l l e d a g a i n s t him, departed s p e e d i l y t o her own magic  she  realm.  The d e s t i n y m o t i f and the theme of s i n ( s i n , i n the sense of a f a u l t or misdemeanor), undoubtedly this l a i i t s distinctive flavour.  help to give  The l o v e r s , a f t e r  all,  are d e s t i n e d f o r one another, y e t L a n v a l ' s boast"*" t h r e a t e n s , at one p o i n t of the s t o r y , t o endanger t h i s  relationship.  In L a n v a l , the f a i r y i s v i s i b l e t o one person not to o t h e r s ( f o r example, t o L a n v a l o n l y d u r i n g the part of the s t o r y ) .  Towards the end  and first  of the L a i , she i s seen  f o r a b r i e f p e r i o d by a l l at King A r t h u r ' s Court.  In Yonec,  on the other hand, the magic i s c l o s e l y t i e d up w i t h the transformation motif.  The hawk becomes the k n i g h t Muldumaree,  Schurr, op. c i t . ,  p.  563.  - 124 or the knight  changes i n t o a hawk.  King of K a r l i o n .  The  This hawk-knight i s a l s o  l a d y ' s s i n or f a u l t i s i n t h i s l a y an  extremely complex concept The  -  ("vostre  semblanz nus  ocireit").  f a u l t would seem t o be l a c k of moderation i n l o v e or too  much happiness i n l o v e . In Guigemar, the d e s t i n y m o t i f and the theme of s i n are important  threads  i n the s t r a n d of t h i s complex  Those have been f u l l y d i s c u s s e d .  lai.  There are a few h i n t s of  m a g i c — t h e l a d y escapes m y s t e r i o u s l y from her p r i s o n , the word "fee*" i s used t o d e s c r i b e her beauty. course, t h e speaking a river those  white h i n d , the stream t h a t has become  ( t r a n s f o r m a t i o n m o t i f I ) , and the magic s h i p .  i n L a n v a l and Yonec, the hero and heroine  are both human b e i n g s .  The  are symbolic.  i n Guigemar  f o r these  the  objects  They are connected a l s o t o the d e s t i n y m o t i f  to the concept of an e x c l u s i v e l o v e .  assigned  Unlike  knot i n Guigemar's s h i r t and  l a d y ' s g i r d l e p o i n t to f u r t h e r complexity,  and  There i s , of  Guigemar has been  a p l a c e among " l e s l a i s f e e r i q u e s " by  (along w i t h L a n v a l and Yonec), but  Hoepffner  i t i s partly a  symbolic  lay! In M i l u n , the f i r s t  of the group of p u r e l y  symbolic  l a i s , the swan i s the messenger of l o v e — a l o v e , which endures i n s p i t e of many o b s t a c l e s .  Once M i l u n has d i s c o v e r e d h i s  son, however, i t i s the l a t t e r who, swan, f o r i t i s he who  i n a sense, r e p l a c e s the  unites h i s parents.  i n M i l u n l i e s mainly i n the symbolism.  The  complexity  D e s t i n y and s i n are  - 125  -  c l o s e l y connected as themes i n t h i s l a i , as has been shown, but there i s no magic element d i s c e r n i b l e .  Laostic i s also  a symbolic l a i , where the significance of the  nightingale  and the drops of blood on the l a d y s garment has been d i s T  cussed at some length.  The complexity of t h i s l a i would also  seem to l i e i n the f a c t that i t can be read at two d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s — a s a charming, entertaining story with a f a i r l y happy ending, or as a story with a deeper meaning than might at f i r s t appear. The L a i des Deus Amanz cannot be c l a s s i f i e d as a magic or a symbolic l a y . strength-giving potion. i s that of excessive was  The  1  The  only magic element i s the  s i n or f a u l t of the young  love, "desmesure" or " f o l i e . "  unkind to the lovers from the beginning.  The  man  Destiny story  unfolds simply and entertainingly and would appear to be l e s s complex than some of the other l a y s .  However, Marie,  i n the introduction to the l a i , informs us that the  two  lovers l i e buried at the top of the mountain ("a un halt munt merveilles grant:  l a sus gisent l i dui enfant.")  The  poetess repeats t h i s statement at the end of the poem, phrasing  i t d i f f e r e n t l y , of course:  enfuirent."  "Desur l e munt l e s  She also adds, as i n most of her l a y s , " L i  Bretun enfuirent un l a i . "  Marie de France appears to be  See, however, Anna Granville Hatcher, " L a i du Chevrefeuil," Romania ( 3 r d Book), V o l . 71 (1950), p. 333.  - 126 interested i n the story but she also wishes to r e f e r to some d e f i n i t e period i n the past a lai!.)  (later the Bretons composed  In other words, the poetess, by providing some kind  of a frame-work f o r the story (or by her imaginative  treat-  ment of the story) has i d e a l i z e d the o r i g i n a l incident or sentimental  episode.  On analysis, the complexity of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r l a i , then, w i l l be seen to reside i n i t s structure, overall-design or "form." The  examination of seven of Marie de France's L a i s ,  has revealed to some extent, i t i s hoped, the complexity of her a r t i s t i c productions—complexity of theme (as i n Lanval, Yonec. Guigemar). complexity of symbolism (as i n Milun, Laostie, Guigemar). and complexity of structure (as i n Les Deus Amanz).  Is there, on occasion,  i n the works of Marie de  France complexity of language? I t might be f i t t i n g , at t h i s point, to examine a passage from "Chevrefoil," which has been much debated owing to i t s apparent lack of c l a r i t y .  The writer i s r e f e r r i n g to  the "message" i n Chevrefoil (lines 61-78), and also to l i n e s 107-113 (see Appendix E ) .  Is Marie de France r e a l l y to be  accused of lack of c l a r i t y i n t h i s passage?  One section of  her Prologue to the L a i s (lines 9-22), although at one time i t must have appeared to be quite lacking i n c l a r i t y , i s no longer considered  so obscure.  - 127 It  i s not the aim of the w r i t e r  to d i s c u s s the  d i f f e r e n t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of t h i s passage i n great  detail.  Such an u n d e r t a k i n g would r e q u i r e a separate chapter i n thesis.  The w r i t e r ' s  aim i s merely t o suggest t h a t ,  this  perhaps,  a f t e r a l l there i s no r e a l l a c k of c l a r i t y i n the l i n e s to be d i s c u s s e d . of language.  What t h e r e i s ,  i s a g a i n c o m p l e x i t y — a complexity  Some of the s c h o l a r s , who have been preoccupied  w i t h the poem have a l s o produced complex s o l u t i o n s i n t h e i r interpretations 2 In Marie de F r a n c e ' s C h e v r e f o i l , T r i s t a n f a s h i o n s a b l o c k of wood four-square from a h a z e l - t r e e and carves name on a s t i c k .  V a r i o u s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of the "message"  i n l i n e s 6l-7# have been g i v e n . Schoepperle,  1  his  and Grace F r a n k ,  2  Some c r i t i c s ,  such as Gertrud  b e l i e v e t h a t the whole message  of M a r i e ' s l i n e s was w r i t t e n on the stave of hazel-wood. ( T r i s t a n s t a t e d i n t h i s message t h a t he had waited f o r  Iseut  f o r a long t i m e ; they were l i k e the honey-suckle and the hazel:  n e i t h e r could e x i s t without the o t h e r . )  Grace Frank  b e l i e v e s t h a t Marie had rune s t i c k s or ogham t a b l e t s i n mind f o r l e t t e r s graven on wood, wands, and square staves w i t h poems and other i n s c r i p t i o n s upon them, were no n o v e l t y the T w e l f t h Century.  in  Marie de F r a n c e , t h u s , intended us t o  t h i n k of the whole message as carved on wood.  L i n e s 107-113  Gertrud S c h o e p p e r l e , " C h e v r e f o i l , " Romania V o l . XXXVIII, pp. 196-218.  (1909),  2 Grace F r a n k , "Marie de France and the T r i s t a n L e g e n d , " P u b l i c a t i o n s of the Modern Language A s s o c . (1948), V o l . 6 3 ( 1 ) , p p . 405-411.  - 128  -  would, therefore, mean that T r i s t a n wrote a L a i to commemorate his meeting with the queen and the writing on the  stave.  Other c r i t i c s , such as Leopold Sudre, Lucien Foulet 1  A l f r e d Ewert on wood.  2  and  are against the idea of a long message, carved  T r i s t a n cannot have written out a message, the  import of which f i l l s seventeen l i n e s .  Also, the queen could  hardly have read t h i s message as she rode past on horseback. Foulet and Ewert are of the opinion that T r i s t a n must f i r s t have sent the queen a written message, warning her of his presence i n the forest and reminding her of some p a r t i c u l a r signal that had been used on previous occasions  (lines  57-  58); l i n e s 63-78 would, therefore, indicate the content of that l e t t e r . to i t .  The  l i n e s 77-78 would be a f i t t i n g  conclusion  In other words, T r i s t a n used the s t i c k of hazel-wood  with the l e t t e r s T-R-I-S-T-A-N only, carved upon i t , as had been agreed.  Lines 107-113 would seem to mean that Tristan  composed a l a i to commemorate the meeting of T r i s t a n with the queen and the writing on the stave as the queen had directed. Miss Rickert3 believes that the message was i n the symbolism of the hazel and the honeysuckle. S p i t z e r ^ i s of the opinion that the queen was  (1886), p.  conveyed Leo  inspired, i n  1  Leopold Sudre, Romania, XV  551.  2  L a i s , ed. A l f r e d Ewert (Oxford, 1958), p.  I84.  3  Edith Rickert, Marie de France: Seven of her Lays done i n t o English (Notes David Nutt, 1901), p. 193. ^Leo Spitzer, "La l e t t r e sur l a Baguette de Coudrier" dans l e L a i du C h i e v r e f e u i l , Romanische Literatur-Studien, 1936-56 (Tubingen: 1959), pp. 3-14.  -  1  2  9 -  t h a t she r e a d beneath t h e l i t e r a l s u r f a c e o f t h e b a r k t o i t s s p i r i t u a l core and d i v i n e d h e r l o v e r ' s message. A.G.  Hatcher"*" approves o f S p i t z e r ' s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n .  Miss (She  does n o t , however, agree t h a t — " p u r l e s p a r o l e s r e m e m b r e r " — l i n e 1 1 1 , r e f e r s t o l i n e 96—"e e l e l i d i s t sun p l a i s i r " — at a d i s t a n c e of 1 5 l i n e s ! " ) . found unexpectedly  I f t h e s t i c k o f wood were  i n h e r p a t h , t h e name T r i s t a n would be a  message t o t h e queen.  The message e x i s t e d , b u t o n l y a s an  e v o c a t i o n , f i n a l l y t o be r e c o r d e d a s a l a i ( l i n e s 1 0 2 - 1 1 3 ) ; a name, engraved f o r I s e u t on hazel-wood, would n o t o n l y be a s i g n o f T r i s t a n ' s p r e s e n c e , b u t would become "a symbol o f t h e i r l o v e — t h a t i s , a message:  then a s i l e n t voice  (Bele  Amie, s i e s t de n u s — ) t h e n the v o i c e o f Iseut, ( — s i com l a r e i n e l ' o t d i t ) , who r e p e a t s t o him t h e words she had d i v i n e d — t o become a t l a s t a poem, s e t t o music and g i v e n  final  shape by a r t ; a w i t n e s s t o t h e m i r a c l e o f l o v e ' s under2  standing."  Pierre l e Gentil  pays t r i b u t e t o Leo S p i t z e r ' s  c o n t r i b u t i o n t o the d e b a t e , b u t seems u n w i l l i n g t o commit h i m s e l f c o m p l e t e l y t o S p i t z e r ' s approach t o t h e problems i n v o l v e d i n t h e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f t e x t s such a s t h a t o f C h i e v r e f e u i l . b e l i e v e s t h a t l i n e s 77-7$, " B e l e amie, s i e s t de nus:  He  ne vus  senz mei ne j e o senz v u s ! " were w r i t t e n on T r i s t a n ' s s t i c k Hatcher,  op. c i t . , 3 3 0 - 3 4 4 .  V P i e r r e l e G e n t i l , "A Propos du L a i du C h e v r e f e u i l l e e t de 1 ' i n t e r p r e t a t i o n des T e x t e s Medie'vaux" Melanges d ' h i s t o i r e l i t t e l r a i r e o f f e r t s e i H e n r i Chamard ( P a r i s : N i z e t , 1 9 5 1 ) • 2  - 130 of hazel-wood as w e l l as h i s name.  Jean F r a p p i e r  also  pays t r i b u t e to the c o n t r i b u t i o n s of S p i t z e r and Hatcher, but a s s e r t s that no m i r a c l e i s i n v o l v e d i n the sending and r e c e p t i o n of the message.  Marie s t a t e s  clearly  in lines  60, the s i g n a l had been used on former o c c a s i o n s . c o u l d , t h e r e f o r e , be no m i r a c l e .  There  Frappier believes  i n s u f f i c i e n t a t t e n t i o n has been paid t o l i n e s  57-  that  57-60.  One t h i n g may s a f e l y be a s s e r t e d — t h i s debate over the exact meaning to be a s s i g n e d t o l i n e s 61-78 107-113, i s not over y e t .  It  may be t h a t the  appear to d i f f e r , more than they r e a l l y d o .  and l i n e s disputants  Leo S p i t z e r and  Miss Hatcher are p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t e d i n " d e v e l o p i n g new v a r i e t i e s of symbolic l o g i c . " other hand, has t h i s to s a y :  Miss Grace Frank,  2  on the  F o r my p a r t , i f Marie de France w r i t e s of werewolves, magic p o t i o n s , speaking h i n d s , hawks t h a t t u r n i n t o k n i g h t s , s h i p s t h a t s a i l themselves, a f a i r y m i s t r e s s who appears and d i s a p p e a r s at w i l l , I do not ask how such t h i n g s can b e . T r i s t a n might carve a message, whose import f i l l s twice seventeen l i n e s , and I would not q u e s t i o n M a r i e ' s p o e t i c r i g h t to have him do s o . From the above a n a l y s i s of the d i f f e r e n t  interpre-  t a t i o n s of the two passages taken from C h e v r e f o i l , the i n f e r e n c e seems to b e , e i t h e r ,  t h a t Marie de France was  Jean F r a p p i e r , " C o n t r i b u t i o n au Debat sur l e , L a i du C h i e v r e f e u i l l e , " Melanges de l i n g u i s t i q u e et de l i t t e r a t u r e romanes a l a memoire d ' I s t v a n Frank (Saarbriicken: Annales U n i v e r s i t a t i s S a r a v i e n s i s , 1957). Frank,  op. c i t . ,  p. 406.  -  131  -  lacking i n c l a r i t y of expression or that Marie's  language,  when she attempts to express an i n t r i c a t e idea (such as that of l i n e s 9-22,  i n the Prologue to the Lais, or the message of  Chievrefeuille) attains such complexity and subtlety that a modern reader i s unable to grasp the meaning and a l l i t s implications, whereas an i n t e l l i g e n t reader or l i s t e n e r i n the Twelfth Century might have succeeded. Pierre l e G e n t i l ^ has pointed out that the reader of a medieval lay, such as the L a i of Chevrefoil, i s capable of f e e l i n g the poetry inherent i n i t , yet i s unable to understand the creative process that led to i t s perfection of form. The reader can trace certain obvious techniques and indicate the topoi, but he cannot follow " l e s mouvements obscurs" which are probably the most important part of the creative process.  Pierre l e G e n t i l writes: A coup sur, r e s t i t u e r a l a forme ses vertus orginales est ce qui pre'sente peut-etre pour nous l a d i f f i c u l t ^ l a plus grave; 1 ' u t i l i s a t i o n des mots, avec toute leur gamme de resonances, c e l l e des tours syntaxiques, ou des fa§ons de d i r e , cet ensemble de^ choix, f a i t s de v i c t o i r e s , de compromis on de de'faites, qui aboutissent a 1'expression ,tout cela a de grandes chances, en e f f e t , de nous e"chapper plus ou moins completement Nous ignorons ce je ne sais quoi, qui donne a l'ancienne langue sa vie et son mouvement. In t h i s chapter, the attempt to show the complex  features of the works of Marie de France (complexity of  "^le G e n t i l . op.. cit.» p. 17.  - 132  -  themes, symbols, structure and language) has r e a l l y been an attempt to reveal the sophistication and a r t i s t r y of the poetess.  The s i m p l i c i t y of her writings i s only apparent  simplicity. There can be l i t t l e doubt that her most perfect production i s the L a i s , yet i t would be a great mistake to imagine that her other works are lacking i n complexity and sophistication.  Hans Robert Jauss  1  has shown that the  Fables—  those moral a l l e g o r i e s — a r e more o r i g i n a l than Warnke had at one time suggested (this o r i g i n a l i t y i s c l o s e l y a l l i e d to the complexity of her productions of thought).  and to her sophistication  As f o r the Espurgatoire  de Seint P a t r i z . the  3  American scholar, R. Foster Damon^ suggests that " i t points towards Dante and his elaborate system of f o u r f o l d meanings." The differences i n complexity and sophistication, therefore, i n Marie's works are not differences of kind; they are differences of degree. This writer hopes, then, that he has revealed, by an analysis of seven of the l a i s of Marie de France, the complexity of the poetess' writings. Hans Robert Jauss, "Untersuchungen zur M i t t e l a l t e r l i c h e n Tierdichtung," Erstes K a p i t e l , Die erste Volkssprachl i c h e Fabelsammlung und i h r Verha'ltnis zur "A^opishh-Christlichen" T r a d i t i o n . Beihefte zur Z e i t s c h r i f t fur Romanische Philologie , (100 Heft), (Tubingen, 1959), S. 26. 2 Karl Warnke, "Fables—Introduction," Die Quelle des Esope der Marie de France. Forschungen zur Rom. P h i l . Festgabe f u r Hermann Suchier (Halle: 1900), p. 2 5 9 . S . Foster-Damon, "Marie de France: Psychologist of Courtly Love," Publications of the Modern Language Assoc., XLIV (1929), 96TTT. 3  -  133  -  One of the several threads examined i n the strand of Marie's productions was the theme of s i n .  The writer d i s -  covered that the s i n mentioned i n Lanval and Yonec could only be described as a f a u l t or misdemeanour.  The s i n i n Les  Deus Amanz was that of excessive love " f o l i e " or "desmesure." The " s i n " i n Milun was, presumably, the " s i n " of the parents, whose son was born out of wedlock.  In Guigemar. the s i n i s  hubris or an excessive b e l i e f i n one's own worth.  In Laostic  and Chevrefoil, the basic theme i s adultery, leading to death. The l a s t four lays, t h e r e f o r e — M i l u n , Guigemar. Laostic and C h i e v r e f e u i l — a r e those where the theme of theological s i n appears to be best  illustrated.  In the next chapter the writer hopes to show where the theme of s a i n t l i n e s s and s i n are best i l l u s t r a t e d .  CHAPTER VI THE LAIS BISCLAVRET, EQUITAN, CHAITIVEL, FRAISNE, AND ELIDUC Five more Lais remain to be considered.  The writer,  a f t e r describing the content of each of the f i r s t three l a y s — B i s c l a v r e t , Equitan, and C h a i t i v e l — i n t e n d s to pursue h i s analysis of the theme of s i n . In the same way, after d i s cussing the substance  of the Lais Fraisne and Eliduc, he w i l l  comment on the theme of s a i n t l i n e s s . In the l a i B i s c l a v r e t . a v a l i a n t knight, held i n high esteem by h i s l i e g e - l o r d and loved by h i s neighbours, had married a virtuous and beautiful lady.  They loved one  another very much, yet one thing caused the lady acute sorrow. Her husband would leave her f o r three days every week and no one knew where he went and what he d i d . One day h i s wife informed him she would l i k e to ask him something, but she was a f r a i d he would be angry i f she did.  He kissed her, promising that he would t e l l her a l l  that he knew, provided i t were i n h i s power to do so. The lady then asked him where he went and what he did during h i s absence from home.  The knight begged her not to question  him further i n the matter f o r , i f she were to know a l l , she - 134 -  - 135  might cease to love him.  -  Naturally, the lady was  s a t i s f i e d with t h i s answer.  not  She besought him with prayers  and caresses to t e l l her the whole truth, and i n the end the knight yielded to her entreaties. During a period of three days i n the week he was  compelled to become a werewolf.  He would hide i n the thickest part of the f o r e s t and there l i v e on prey and plunder. his  clothes.  The lady then asked him about  Did he s t i l l wear them?  would lay them aside.  No, he r e p l i e d , he  The knight, however, was not prepared  to t e l l his wife where he l a i d them,for, i f ever they were stolen, he would have to remain a werewolf f o r the remainder of h i s days.  The lady i n s i s t e d that she should be t o l d  everything and, i n the end, the knight yielded once more to her entreaties. Near an old chapel, under a thick shrub was a large stone with a hollow beneath i t — t h e r e he hid h i s clothes. La dame ox cele merveille, de pour f u tute vermeille. When the lady had discovered the whole truth about her busband s absences, her love was  changed to loathing,  and she could only think of escape.  Then she decided to  T  consult a certain knight who had loved her formerly and did.  In her distress she turned to t h i s knight and  him to s t e a l her husband's clothes, while the l a t t e r s t i l l roaming the woods i n wolf's form. betrayed by his wife.  still  asked was  Thus B i s c l a v r e t  A search was organized to discover  was  - 136 his whereabouts but t h i s proved f r u i t l e s s .  Subsequently  the lady married her f r i e n d . A year l a t e r the king went hunting i n that very f o r e s t where B i s c l a v r e t was roaming. the track of the werewolf.  I t was  The hounds came upon  pursued a l l day and would  have been torn apart, had he not f l e d to the king, seized him by the s t i r r u p , and l i c k e d h i s foot.  The king  was  amazed and t o l d his companions to drive away the dogs. would hunt no more that day.  He  The werewolf followed the king  and his s u i t e to the castle, where he was well fed and for.  cared  The king l e t i t be known that he should be treated w e l l . Some time l a t e r the King held court and summoned a l l  his barons.  The knight who  among those who  had betrayed the werewolf  entered the palace.  was  As soon as B i s c l a v r e t  saw him he sprang at him and would have torn him to pieces had not the King intervened. seize the knight that day.  B i s c l a v r e t twice t r i e d to Every-one was amazed f o r B i s c l a v r e t  was usually gentle and d o c i l e . Not long after t h i s incident, the King went hunting i n the f o r e s t , accompanied by the werewolf. B i s c l a v r e t ' s wife, who  had learned that the King was  sojourning i n the  neighbourhood, decided to pay him a v i s i t and do homage to him.  When B i s c l a v r e t saw her, he sprang at her savagely  b i t the nose o f f her face.  and  Those around were about to put  an end to the wolf's l i f e , when a wise councillor spoke up. He pointed out that the animal had never shown himself to be  - 137 vicious with any of the c o u r t i e r s .  The beast had attacked  two people, the lady and the l o r d , her husband.  Perhaps the  lady should be questioned as to why the wolf hated her.  The  lady and her husband were assigned to separate prisons and B i s c l a v r e t ' s wife, f e a r i n g the worst, confessed that she had betrayed her f i r s t husband. be her f i r s t husband.  She thought the werewolf might  At the King's command, the clothes  were produced and l a i d before B i s c l a v r e t , but the wolf would not even look at them.  The wise c o u n c i l l o r then  suggested  that the wolf be l e f t i n the king's room with the clothes, and that the doors be locked. had happened.  They would see, l a t e r , what  To t h i s , the King agreed.  The King and some barons entered the room a l i t t l e l a t e r and found the missing knight, sleeping peacefully. When he awoke, the King embraced him e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y , and l a t e r saw to i t that h i s lands were returned to him. wife was exiled with her second husband.  Bisclavret*s  She had children,  but the g i r l s were a l l born "esnasees," i . e . without noses. The reader can sympathise with B i s c l a v r e t * s wife, when she f i r s t learns about her husband's transformation into wolf-form.  The idea that he can become a savage animal,  roaming the woods, f i l l s her with fear and disgust.  She  no longer wishes to l i e at h i s side and summons a f r i e n d to help her i n her d i s t r e s s .  However, she sends t h i s f r i e n d  to f e t c h the clothes, so that B i s c l a v r e t may never come back to her.  Salvatore B a t t a g l i a (Salvatore B a t t a g l i a , F i r . I l l ,  - 138 229-53.  " I I mito del Licantropo nel B i s c l a v r e t d i Maria d i  Francia.") points out:  "La r i s o l u z i o n e ch'essa elegge e  criminale e l a mette immediamente f u o r i d a l l a legge morale, non solo quella d e g l i uomini e d e l l a societa, ma sopratutto quella que vige nel mondo d i Maria d i Francia governato esclusivamente d a l l a norma d e g l i a f f e t i e d e l l a spirituale.  transparenza  n  B i s c l a v r e t s wife has sinned, i n that she has betrayed T  her husband.  She has condemned a partner i n marriage (who  was not a tyrant, or a jealous old man) to a h o r r i b l e , miserable was,  existence.  She has victimized him.  Such betrayal  indeed, f o r Marie a s i n against love, but the i n f l i c t i o n  of suffering upon others i s also a s i n i n the t h e o l o g i c a l sense of the word.  The s i n , i n t h i s l a i , i s not so much the  s i n of adultery; i t i s that of the betrayal and v i c t i m i z a t i o n of a partner i n marriage. In the L a i of Equitan. the King of Nantes i s described as a pleasure-loving monarch, who spent most of h i s time i n hunting r i v e r - s p o r t s , when he was not engaged i n m i l i t a r y operations.  He also had many love a f f a i r s .  King  Equitan  tended, therefore, to leave the administration of his realm to his seneschal.  The l a t t e r had a very b e a u t i f u l wife.  The  king had often heard her being praised and, although he had never seen her, he already loved her. greetings and presents.  At f i r s t , he sent  When he went hunting i n the country,  he would spend the night at the seneschal's  castle.  Thus, on  - 139 one occasion he saw the lady and her grace, charm, and cleverness captivated him. that night.  King Equitan could not sleep  He made up his mind, on that occasion, to  declare h i s love on the following day.  He knew h i s love  was stronger than his feelings of duty towards the seneschal. In the morning, having feigned sickness, he summoned the lady to his presence and revealed h i s feelings f o r her. The lady c l e v e r l y referred to t h e i r difference of station at f i r s t . He was a King and she a seneschal's wife. foundation f o r love.  This was no sure  She also expressed the fear that the  King would not keep f a i t h were she to grant him her love. Equitan succeeded, however, i n winning her love. Whenever the King received his mistress, he would announce that, as he was being bled, admission to h i s rooms was s t r i c t l y forbidden and a l l doors were closed. dared enter, therefore.  Equitan's  subjects were anxious  that he should marry and have h e i r s . l i s t e n to them.  No one  The King would not  The lady, however, on one occasion, complained  that she feared she would be abandoned by the King.  The  l a t t e r assured her that there were no grounds f o r her f e a r s . If her husband were dead, he would marry her immediately. Thereupon, the lady decided t o get r i d of her husband, and she asked Equitan to help her carry out her plan. next occasion, when the king went hunting, a few days at the seneschal's would be bled together.  castle.  On the  she l e t him spend  He and the seneschal  On the t h i r d day, they would have a  - 140 bath; the water i n the seneschal's bath would be so hot that he would surely die.' About three months l a t e r , the King went hunting again and spent a few days, as planned, at the seneschal's c a s t l e . He and the seneschal were bled together.  On the t h i r d day,  the baths were prepared i n the bed-room, one of them containing b o i l i n g water f o r the seneschal.  The l a t t e r had gone out  early that morning and as he had not yet returned, the lady went to see her lover. on the seneschal's bed.  Their passion l e d them to make love Suddenly the husband returned,  pushed the door v i o l e n t l y open (although a young g i r l servant had t r i e d to prevent him from so doing), and saw the adulterous couple on the bed. The King, who was naked, jumped into the bath of b o i l i n g water, which had been intended for the seneschal. The l a t t e r then seized h i s wife and pushed her, head f i r s t , into the same bath where, l i k e her lover, she was so scalded, that she died. Some l i t e r a r y c r i t i c s consider Equitan to be Marie's weakest l a y .  Some have even attempted (quite wrongly, that Marie d i d not even  write t h i s l a i at a l l .  Certainly, the story or subject-  matter would be suitable f o r a " f a b l i a u " and the moral (lines 313-316) would form a f i t t i n g conclusion f o r a f a b l e .  Ernest Hoepffner, Les Lais de Marie de France Nizet, 1959), p. 152.  The  (Paris:  - 141 actual story of the lady's p l a n — " l e conte de l a ruse feminine"  1  takes up less than one half of the l a y .  the f i r s t h a l f , which excites our c u r i o s i t y most. to be found:  It i s In i t are  information about Equitan and h i s seneschal,  a description of the l a t t e r ' s wife, and Marie's own  treat-  ment of the Provencal theory of "1'amour courtois."  Marie  appears anxious to present the character of the seneschal i n a favourable l i g h t .  Not only i s he "preuz," "bon"  and  " l e i a l , " but he also conscientiously safeguards the king's interests.  In the same way,  Marie takes pains to describe  the beauty of the seneschal's wife.  Indeed the description  of the seneschal's wife, along with that of the "fee" i n Lanval, are Marie's most detailed descriptions of feminine beauty. 2 D.W.  Robertson  has attempted to show that King  Equitan's love was a purely sensual love.  He produces the  d e f i n i t i o n of sensual love, as given by A i l r e d of Rievaui? i n h i s De S p i r i t u a l i Amicitia.  This d e f i n i t i o n reappears  i n a condensation of Ailred's work, which carried such authority i n the Twelfth Century that i t was attributed to I b i d . . p. .152. 2 D.W. Robertson, "Love Conventions i n Marie's Equitan," Romanic Review, t, XLIV (1953), pp. 241-245. 1  ^ A i l r e d of Rievaulx, " D e f i n i t i o n of Sensual Love," Patr. Lat. (Migne). v o l . CXCV, c o l . 665. Also see Appendix F.  - 142 St. Augustine.  1  Robertson states that Peter de B l o i s  2  gives  a s i m i l a r d e f i n i t i o n and also i n Andreas Capellanus' "De Amore," the essential elements of A i l r e d ' s d e f i n i t i o n reappear.  The d e f i n i t i o n was a common-place i n c l e r i c a l c i r c l e s  at the time that Marie wrote.  The d e f i n i t i o n implies that  such love i s not the f r u i t of serious d e l i b e r a t i o n . tested by judgment and i s not ruled by reason.  I t i s not  I t knows no  measure and proceeds without d i s c r e t i o n . Robertson agrees with Hoepffner that Marie's intention i n t h i s l a y was didactic and moralizing.3 King Equitan's " a f f e e t i o " i . e . h i s state of mind, i s receptive to stimulation through the ears and the eyes: L i r e i s l ' o i ' sovent l o e r Soventefez l a salua; de ses aveirs l i enveia. Senz veue l a coveita.  (Lines 38-42)  The King uses love of pleasure and sexual s a t i s f a c t i o n as a source of " c h i v a l r y " ; he does not guide himself by reason or measure Deduit amout e druerie: Pur ceo maintint chevalerie C i l metent l u r vie en nuncure, k i d'amur n'ont sen e mesure; t e l s est l a mesure de amer Que nuls n ' i deit raisun guarder. (Lines 15-20) ^"Peter of B l o i s attributes t h i s work to Augustine (Patr. Lat., XL, 333). See also M.M. Davy, Un t r a i t e de 1'Amour du Xllieme s i e c l e (Paris: 1932), pp. 140, 142. P e t e r de B l o i s , Un Traite'del'Amour (Latin Text), French t r a n s l a t i o n (by M.M. Davy) (Paris: 1932), p. 130. 2  3  A Miscellany of Studies i n Romance Languages and L i t e r a t u r e , presented to L.E. Kastner, 1933, pp. 294-302.  - 143 Equitan, then, has heard so much praise of the lady, that he has already f a l l e n i n love with her.  When he has  seen her, he i s wounded by the arrow of love ( i . e . the lady's beauty passes from the eye to the mind, where i t remains fixed).  Then follows the sleepless night during which Equitan  nurses his conscience, having decided on conquest.  The  King's lecherous i n c l i n a t i o n s are not only contrary to his feudal obligations, but also to the second precept of charity. What he proposes to do would, i n Ailred's language, be p l a i n l y "wicked" and "impious."  In l i n e s 79-82, h i s r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n  of the whole s i t u a t i o n i s , to say the l e a s t , c y n i c a l .  What  a pity i f such a beautiful woman should not indulge i n adulterous loveJ  Also, i n not doing so, she would be lacking  i n "courtesy" (lines 151-162). her husbandI  Why, he must share her with  When he l a t e r declares h i s love to the lady,  he promises to become her "man" or "ami," thus turning the feudal r e l a t i o n s h i p upside down.  I f she refuses to become  his mistress, he w i l l , of course, d i e . rings and enter into a compact.  The two exchange  Ailred, i n his d e f i n i t i o n , 1  describes such compacts, where the participants consider nothing sweeter or more just than t h e i r mutual s a t i s f a c t i o n . Robertson concludes that Hoepffner i s right i n r e f e r r i n g to the l a i of Equitan as one where the intention i s d e f i n i t e l y 2  moralizing or d i d a c t i c . (Ewert  had stated that Marie's  ^See Appendix D. o  Marie de France, Lais, ed. Alfred Ewert (Oxford: Blackwell, 1958). Notes, p. 176.  - 144 intention, although moralizing and d i d a c t i c , was perhaps hardly as conscious and clear-cut as Hoepffner  1  had suggested.)  The love described i n Equitan i s a sensual love, and the def i n i t i o n of t h i s love was i n Marie's time a common-place i n clerical circles.  Marie's treatment of "courtesy" and  "chivalry" i s ironic. lay:  Furthermore, the conclusion to the  " t e l s purchace l e mai d ' a l t r u i , dunt tuz l i mais revert  sur l u i " i s to be understood, i n the sense, that i f you do your neighbour any harm, you are also doing harm to yourself s p i r i t u a l l y , that i s , you are sinning. The writer would now l i k e to submit h i s own i n t e r pretation of the second h a l f of the lay, i . e . the "aventure" i n Equitan.  The story of the "ruse feminine"  could be d i -  vided into two sections, ( 1 ) l i n e s l # 5 - 2 6 3 , and ( 2 ) l i n e s 263-314.  There i s quite a difference i n the style and tone  of each section. In the f i r s t section of the "aventure," the reader learns that every time the lovers met, the King l e t i t be known that he was being bled and that admission to h i s rooms was s t r i c t l y forbidden. marry and have h e i r s . suggestions.  The King's vassals wanted him to The seneschal's  She was greatly perturbed  wife heard t h e i r and thought i t  possible that the king would, one day, leave her.  Now, the  demands of the king's subjects constituted a very r e a l threat  A Miscellany of Studies i n Romance Languages and L i t e r a t u r e presented to L.E. Kastner, 1 9 3 5 , pp. 2 9 4 - 3 0 2 .  - 145 to the r e l a t i o n s h i p between King Equitan and his mistress. The lady, therefore, decided to discuss the matter with the King.  The King reassured her. The King f i r s t said  (in l i n e s 226-7) that, i f her  husband was to die, she would become queen.  Then, l a t e r ,  he stated he would never leave her f o r another woman (lines 231-232).  These two statements, taken together, are tanta-  mount to a promise of marriage.  The lady c e r t a i n l y interprets  the King's words i n this manner and she decides to get r i d of her husband. kill  She then unfolds her d i a b o l i c a l plan to  him. In the f i r s t section of the "aventure" then, there i s  a l o g i c a l sequence of events—the desire of the king's vassals to see him marry disturbs the lady, who i s then compelled t o discuss the matter with the king.  The king, to reassure the  lady must, among other things, suggest that, were she not already married, she would be queen. her f o r another i n any case.  He would never leave  As t h i s i s p r a c t i c a l l y the  equivalent of a promise of marriage, the lady f e e l s free to concoct her d i a b o l i c a l plan. The second section of the "aventure" begins at l i n e 263, "ne demura mie t r e i s meis."  I t i s from t h i s point on-  wards, that the lay might be held to give the c r i t i c s some ground f o r t h e i r views, that Equitan i s i n f e r i o r to the other lays.  From l i n e 263-314, a great number of verbs of action  follow one another and the impression l e f t with the reader  - 146 i s that the passage lacks Marie de France's usual complexity of style and s o p h i s t i c a t i o n of thought.  Further, the poetess  appears to be i n a hurry to reach the end of the l a y .  The  narration of t h i s passage reminds the reader of a motionpicture f i l m where the f i n a l section of the r e e l i s unrolled at top speed.  This i s followed by the moral * t e l s purchace l e mai d ' a l t r u i , dunt tuz l i mais revert sur l u i .  Now,  before the l a s t section of the "aventure" begins,  "ne demura mie t r e i s raeis" the seneschal's wife has already concocted the plan f o r her husband's death.  Not only i s she  c l e a r l y an adultress, she i s also a potential  murderess.  Marie i s , once more, preoccupied with the theme of s i n , and i t i s interesting to see how her style and tone change when the s i n i n question i s a heinous crime.  Surely t h i s section  of the "aventure" with i t s many verbs denoting action, reminds us of certain passages i n the Espurgatoire de Seint P a t r i z . (In the same way,  the presence of the bath reminds us of the  d e v i l s ' cauldrons!)  It would seem that Marie believes that  there are times when, what you say i s more important than how you say i t .  The message i s what matters.  Marie wishes to make i t clear that the seneschal's wife has shown herself to be capable of the most serious sins. The ending, therefore, does not mean what i t appears to mean, but that too much love and the wrong kind of love can lead to the gravest sins, such as adultery and murder.  The state of  the i n d i v i d u a l soul i s , once more, Marie's chief concern.  - 147  -  In the L a i C h a i t i v e l . the reader i s introduced to a lady of high degree, who  was b e a u t i f u l and well-mannered.  This lady l i v e d i n Nantes i n Britanny. many knights who  paid homage to her.  p a r t i c u l a r , sought her favours.  She was  loved by  Four knights, i n  A l l were noble and handsome,  yet the lady could not decide which one she loved best. About t h i s time a tournament was held i n the c i t y of Nantes, and the four knights, who  were u n t i r i n g i n t h e i r  e f f o r t s to please the lady, decided to take part i n i t . evening before the tournament began, the four knights,  The who  were jousting with others, unhorsed t h e i r four opponents. The lady watched t h e i r heroic deeds from a tower. the tournament, the knights surpassed  During  a l l others i n courage  and daring, but t h e i r zeal caused them to stray too f a r from their companions, with the result that three of them were k i l l e d and the fourth was badly wounded. regretted t h e i r f a t e :  Friend and foe  the tournament had ended i n tragedy.  When the news was brought to the lady, she fainted and expressed regret over her great l o s s .  She had the dead  buried with f u l l honours, and handed over the fourth knight, who was badly disabled, to the care of a good doctor. One  summer evening, apparently l o s t i n thought, the  lady paid a v i s i t to the disabled knight, now  slowly recovering.  He asked her why  She answered  she looked sad and anxious.  that she had been thinking of his former r i v a l s .  No lady,  she asserted, had ever been loved by four such noble knights,  - 148 and no lady would ever experience such sorrow as hers.  To  preserve the memory of her suffering, she wanted to compose a l a i , f o r which Les Quatre Doels be the most f i t t i n g t i t l e .  :  (The Four Sorrows) would  The injured man,  however, objected;  he was more to be p i t i e d than the dead, whose souls now rested i n peace; he was disabled and s t i l l suffering from unrequited love.  The L a i should, therefore, be given the  t i t l e l e C h a i t i v e l (The Unfortunate One). to give the l a i t h i s t i t l e .  The lady agreed  The poetess maintains, however,  that i t sometimes receives the t i t l e , Les Quatre Doels. The lady i n C h a i t i v e l appears to have every quality, when the reader f i r s t meets her. degree.  She i s presumably of high  She i s b e a u t i f u l , well-mannered, and cultured.  Yet  the poetess soon introduces a touch of humour into the description of t h i s apparent (lines 55-56):  n  paragon of v i r t u e .  For example  Ne volt l e s t r e i s perdre pur l'un:  semblant f a i s e i t a chescun."  bel  She cannot decide which one  of the four knights she loves best, nor i s she prepared to lose three of them i n order to r e t a i n one.  She d i s t r i b u t e s  love-tokens (such as rings, sleeves, and pendants) and sends messages to a l l , but not one of the knights knows about h i s r i v a l s or the r e l a t i o n s h i p of his r i v a l s with the lady. the jousting before the tournament, the four knights show courage and daring.  They also reveal a lack of "mesure."  The lady, who has watched them from a tower, again cannot decide which of the knights deserves most praise.  In  - 149 During the the  fourth  their  the  at  their  line  three  thousand  the  grief  say?  "Lasse  lovers  are  of  loss.  her  injured a l l  worried that  and  never  knights  exception  his  It  c a n be  disabled  and t h e n  it  and  l i t t l e  entirely  with  le  it  to  course  does of  She t h i n k s  she my  mainly  that  dead w i l l  be  the  buried  abbey. asks her  why s h e  looks  of  my l i n e a g e ,  love  four  such  valiant  lose  them a l l  i n one  day,  with  the  now d i s a b l e d . "  composed called  to  The  commemorate  then, also  that  to  this  a Twelfth  C h a i t i v e l , whose  called  Century  sympathy love  is  lady love But  disabled  beautiful,  suffering  Marie's  her  Doels.  is  s h o u l d be  that  the  he  thinking  Then t h e  Les Quatre  l a i  just  so  " I was  maintaining that  is  Of  Three  to  Two  expression  b u t what  see  and the  opponents  unwittingly.  I do?  wounded.  again  replies:  insensitive doubt  news,  as  humour  and b e a r d s .  lady w i l l  she  be  seem,  lady  of  and give  shall  knight  who a r e  a l a i be  would  the  is  doctor  unrequited.  well-mannered centered  hears  hair  i n a magnificent  and t h a t  is  their  fourth  man o b j e c t s ,  love  visors  ferai?"—What  you,  suggests that  injured  she  would a lady  of  suffering  their  despondent,  again  A touch  killed,  well  latter  a good  When t h e  fate.  (as  the  the  honours  opponents  are  had k i l l e d  N a t u r a l l y the  man h a s  knights  a escient"—the  when  dead,  the  pas  remove  quei  of  knights'  their  p u l l i n g at  faints  three  "nel firent  knights  by  The  regret  30,  knights  lady  with  wounded.  companions)  appears of  is  tournament  of  Le  and the  and Chaitivel.  cultured,  coquette, others.  in this  l a i ,  genuine  and  selfThere lies whose  - 150 suffering i s r e a l .  -  The lady's s i n i s the s i n of egoism or  self-centredness, a s i n c l o s e l y related to the s i n of pride which means, a f t e r a l l , an excessive b e l i e f i n one's own worth. The writer would now in Chaitivel.  l i k e to r e f e r to l i n e s  19-28  This passage seems to be completely lacking  i n c l a r i t y , and i t i s a l i t t l e astonishing to f i n d that r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e attention appears to have been paid to i t by so many of these outstanding  scholars, whose findings i n  other directions have so enlightened  some of the more obscure  passages i n Marie de France's writings.  I t i s true that  Warnke has referred to and discussed the interpretations given by Tobler and Cohn and has accepted Tobler's suggestions to some extent, but Ewert, e d i t i o n , writes:  1  r e f e r r i n g to the note i n Warnke's  "None of the emendations discussed at con-  siderable length by Warnke i n the note to t h i s passage can be said to carry conviction." sole testimony of MS  Ewert also states that the  (H) does not allow us to e s t a b l i s h with  certainty exactly what Marie de France meant. Ewert's own  tentative t r a n s l a t i o n of these l i n e s  implies that Marie has written them " i n defence of love and i t s service, which y i e l d s rewards or i s i t s own  reward."  In the above analysis of the l a i of C h a i t i v e l the writer mentioned that Marie introduced touches of humour into the poem and samples were given to i l l u s t r a t e them.  "Marie de France, op. c i t . , p.  182.  Sometimes  -  1 5 1  -  the poetess appears to be using i r o n i c a l devices as w e l l . For example, does not Marie make use of the device of the naive hero, when describing the four knights who lady i n vain?  loved the  Marie's descriptions of t h e i r impulsive  haviour, t h e i r lack of "mesure," t h e i r excessive  be-  daring  and courage i n combat, which could only lead to p a r t i a l d i s ablement or death, would seem to support t h i s claim. s i o n a l l y , too, Marie would seem to be employing the of the naive narrator, or expositor. i n l i n e s 17-13, C h a i t i v e l :  Occadevice  She writes, f o r example,  E l nes pot mie tuz amer—ne e l  nes v o l t mie tuer (destroy?)* Some of the humorous passages to which the writer has already referred, also have the indirectness of irony, for example, i n l i n e 130: pas a escient."  "Nel f i r e n t  It i s common knowledge that irony can be  most complex i n some authors and i f the writer's  suggestion  be true, that Marie's writings generally are most complex productions  (some of them of greater complexity than others),  then her irony may  be more d i f f i c u l t to detect and analyse  than i s usually the case with other authors. When Ewert states that Marie wrote l i n e s 19-28  "in  defence of love and i t s service, which yields rewards or i s i t s own reward," he cannot have intended the remark as a reference to the Provencal theory of "L'amour courtois," for the remainder of the l a i , i f t h i s writer's analysis i s correct, c l e a r l y reveals Marie's antagonism to such courtly love.  Marie uses humour (most unusual!) and irony as her  - 152 weapons to attack "1*amour courtois." It i s t o be hoped that t h i s passage i n C h a i t i v e l (lines 19-28) w i l l , i n future, receive the attention which i t deserves.  I t may well be that the search f o r an acceptable  interpretation of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r passage w i l l lead not only to a more complete understanding of the l a i of C h a i t i v e l . but also to the shedding of more l i g h t on the whole production of the French poetess. In the l a i of Le Fraisne two valiant knights, who were neighbours and f r i e n d s , once l i v e d i n "Britanny." The wife of one of these gave b i r t h t o boy twins and the father wished t o share his happiness with h i s neighbour.  The l a t t e r  gave the bearer of the j o y f u l tidings a b e a u t i f u l horse as a g i f t , but h i s wife, who was seated at the table, smiled and remarked how strange i t was that the knight should wish to proclaim his own dishonour; i t was common knowledge that women, who bore twins, had had two masters.  The lady's  husband reproached her f o r her remarks, but the ugly rumour of the wife's adultery spread throughout Britanny and, although most women did not believe the rumour, the wife, who had borne twins, was wrongly suspected of adultery by her husband. In that same year the slanderer herself gave b i r t h to g i r l twins.  She f e l t , therefore, that the remarks she  had made about the lady who had given b i r t h to boy-twins, had resulted i n her own condemnation.  Her despair was great.  - 153 She even thought of murdering one of the children, but a f a i t h f u l servant suggested that she carry one c h i l d to a monastery.  The c h i l d was, therefore, wrapped i n a garment  of white l i n e n , and an embroidered s i l k cloth, acquired i n Constantinople, was spread over her; f i n a l l y , a costly bracelet was attached to the child's arm. The lady's f a i t h ful  servant set out with the c h i l d i n the evening and early  on the following morning, having said a pious prayer, she l e f t the child i n the fork of an ash-tree near a convent. The porter of the convent, on opening the convent-gate i n the morning, found the l i t t l e g i r l .  His daughter, now a  widow, with a c h i l d of her own, was t o l d t o bathe and feed the  child.  On the following day the abbess was informed of  the discovery of the c h i l d . the  This abbess decided to adopt  l i t t l e g i r l and bring her up as her niece.  She was  called "Fresne" (ash-tree), because she had been found i n the f o r k of the ash-tree. The g i r l , i n due course, became a well-mannered, cultured, b e a u t i f u l woman. Gurun, the l o r d of Dol. the  She made a great impression on  He v i s i t e d her often and offered  convent many g i f t s i n order to see her. When he had won  her love they decided t o leave the convent together. took with her the s i l k cloth and r i n g . concubine i n h i s castle.  Fresne  She l i v e d as h i s  Everyone loved her, yet Gurun's  vassals thought that he should marry and have h e i r s .  They  suggested the daughter of a r i c h knight i n the neighbourhood,  - 154 l a Codre (hazel-tree).  When Fresne heard about the marriage  plans she appeared to remain quite composed and accepted her lord's decision.  Indeed, she was such a humble, lovable  creature, that before the wedding took place (between Codre and Gurun) she (Fresne) had won the favour and a f f e c t i o n of the  bride's mother. In the evening after the wedding, Fraisne entered  the  b r i d a l chamber with a view to ensuring that the b r i d a l  couch was f i t t i n g l y prepared.  She noticed that the bed-  cover was old and she f e l t that i t was not good enough f o r the  newly-wedded couple on such an occasion. She, therefore,  replaced i t by the embroidered s i l k cloth, her own property, which she spread out over the bed. The bride's mother, who had come into the room with her daughter that evening, noticed the "paile r o e " — ( t h e embroidered s i l k cloth) on the bed and recognised i t . She summoned Fraisne t o her presence and when she had heard Fraisne's story and seen the bracelet, she could no longer doubt that Fraisne was her own daughter.  She then confessed  her crime to her husband who, r e j o i c i n g at the thought of having another daughter, forgave her. The marriage which the Archbishop of Dol had celebrated between Gurun and Codre was cancelled. married Fraisne.  Gurun then  La Codre departed with her parents and  l a t e r became the wife of a wealthy man i n that region. In Fraisne. the wife of one of the knights has given  - 155 b i r t h to boy twins.  -  Her neighbour's wife then maligns her,  accusing her of having had two masters.  The lady who  has  maligned her neighbour, l a t e r gives b i r t h to g i r l twins. F. Schurr  1  claims that the theme of t h i s "exposition" i s  "Vergeltung f u r eine Verleumdung"—retribution f o r a calumny (or a merited r e q u i t a l ! ) .  According to Schurr, l i n e s $5-88  indicate the theme of t h i s part of the l a i : ore en a i dous; ceo m'est a v i s , sur mei en est turnez l i p i s . Ki sur a l t r u i mesdit e ment, ne set mie qu'a l ' u e i l l i pent; This part of the l a i of Fraisne would presumably be a narrative, the intention of which would be to make the truth contained i n l i n e s 85-88 i n t e r e s t i n g .  Schurr has, of  course, shown the a l l e g o r i c a l element i n other lays (e.g. the painting on the wall of Venus i n the room of the young lady i n Guigemar). Schurr, l i k e Spitzer, considers that the main part of the story deals with Fraisne and Gurun.  The "exposition,"  then, i l l u s t r a t e s the theme of s i n which i s , however, a secondary theme i n Fraisne.  In the main part of the story,  the theme, i n the writer's opinion, i s that of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e or s a i n t l i n e s s .  A l f r e d A d l e r has offered a very d i f f e r e n t  interpretation.  He holds that the medieval  2  superstition  1  " F r i e d r i c h Schurr, "Komposition und Symbolik i n den L a i s der Marie de France," Z e i t s c h r i f t fur Romanische P h i l o l o g i e , L, 1930, pp. 5 6 1 - 2 . A l f r e d Adler, "Hofische D i a l e k t i k im L a i du Freisne," Germanisch-Romanische Monatschrift, V o l . 4 2 , 1961. 2  - 156  -  about twins as a sign of adultery i s the cause of discomposure or discomforture  i n t h i s courtly society, where men  and purity of lineage are so highly valued. the reader that the lady, who  of rank  Adler reminds  has g i r l twins, f e e l s she must  do away with one of them rather than face her shame (lines 93-94)—("Vergunder ne hunir"). who  The f a i t h f u l maidservant,  i s "de franche orine" expresses the hope—a cardinal  v i r t u e l — t h a t the c h i l d w i l l be found by a "produm."  Later,  the porter at the convent i s referred to as a "produm." Before the c h i l d i s l e f t on the fork of an ash-tree, everything possible i s done to show that she i s "de bone gent" or "de haute gent."  The r i n g and the embroidered s i l k e n  cloth are obviously intended to indicate high lineage.  The  mother i s impressed by Fraisne's gracious behaviour and courtesy.  Although Adler r e f e r s to " C h r i s t l i c h e s Entsagen"  i n Fraisne, t h i s s e l f - d e n i a l i n no way of courtly society.  implies a renunciation  The r i n g and the bed-cover are i n s i g n i a  of rank or symbols of high lineage, but they also remind us of the innocent  l i t t l e c h i l d i n the fork of the  ash-tree.  Pride (or arrogance) and innocence (or childlike-ness) are often found together  i n Marie's lays, says Adler.  The  cence compensates to some extent f o r the pride, e.g.  inno-  the  woman slanderer goes down on her knee and confesses everything to her husband.  The  "merveille" i n Fraisne. according  Adler, i s the f a c t that she appears to be not only but also invulnerable.  to  innocent,  Adler f e e l s compelled, therefore, to  -  157  -  ask whether i n F r a i s n e t h e r e are two worlds as i n L a n v a l — a r e a l world and a f a i r y w o r l d .  He i n s i s t s , however,  there i s o n l y one world—the world of the c o u r t . casts i t s  that  Innocence  s p e l l upon the p r e t e n s i o n s (and p r e t e n t i o u s n e s s )  of court l i f e .  P r i d e and innocence somehow blend and produce  a p l e a s i n g courtesy i n F r a i s n e .  For Adler^" a  certain  C h r i s t i a n charm i s one of t h r e e q u a l i t i e s i n h e r e n t i n F r a i s n e s T  character—"hofisches Gleichgewicht,  s i n n l i c h e r Feenzauber,  und c h r i s t l i c h e Anmut," (p. 5 0 ) . A d l e r , although he i s i n t e r e s t e d i n the  character  of F r a i s n e , does not d i s c u s s the l o v e a f f a i r at a l l .  Yet  the l o v e episode i s probably what i n t e r e s t s Marie de France most.  This writer  b e l i e v e s t h a t the l a i of F r a i s n e i s mainly  a s t o r y about two l o v e r s who are d e s t i n e d to be u n i t e d . However, g r e a t the o b s t a c l e s that r e u n i o n , they w i l l ,  stand i n the path of t h e i r  i n the e n d , be brought t o g e t h e r .  Gurun f i r s t f a l l s i n l o v e w i t h F r a i s n e when he meets her at the convent.  He must secure the g o o d - w i l l of F r a i s n e ' s  aunt, so t h a t he may v i s i t  the young g i r l from time to time,.  To achieve t h i s , he l a v i s h e s g i f t s upon the convent and l a t e r he even r e s i d e s t h e r e , o s t e n s i b l y to o b t a i n r e m i s s i o n of h i s s i n s . pregnant.  Gurun f e a r s , however, t h a t F r a i s n e may become  He t h e r e f o r e asks her t o f o l l o w him t o h i s  F r a i s n e i s l o v e d by a l l f o r her h u m i l i t y and c o u r t e s y .  Ibid.,  p. 50  castle. Never-  - 158  -  theless, Gurun's vassals i n s i s t that he marry and have h e i r s . Gurun sadly accepts t h e i r proposal to marry a young lady, " l a Codre" (Hazel-tree), the daughter of a r i c h knight i n the neighbourhood. place.  The wedding of l a Codre and Gurun takes  On the evening of the wedding-day, however, F r a i s n e s 1  mother discovers that Fraisne i s her own sister.  c h i l d and l a Codre's  The embroidered s i l k coverlet has brought about  the recognition.  The two lovers are at l a s t married  (the  o f f i c i a l wedding between l a Codre and Gurun having been cancelled).  The destiny motif i s c e r t a i n l y prominent i n  this l a i . During the wedding f e s t i v i t i e s Fraisne's conduct i s observed and greatly admired (lines 381-2, Fraisne) "A grant merveille l e teneient - e i l e celes k i l a veeient."  The  implication i n these two l i n e s would seem to be that Fraisne's behaviour was unusual (as well as admirable).  She was  not  necessarily conforming only to the rules of a courtly society. Surely Fraisne's upbringing i n a convent as the mother superior's "niece" explains, i n part, her attitude of humility and lovableness.  Fraisne's love f o r Gurun was  such that she  f e l t she could, i f necessary, forego h i s company, as valued as i t was,  f o r the sake of something of even greater  namely, the love of God. to be united!  There was  value-  But then the lovers were destined i n Fraisne more than a modicum of  C h r i s t i a n charm—in her self-abnegation—there was an element of s a i n t l i n e s s .  - 159  -  In Fraisne, the theme of s i n plays a subordinate role to the theme of s a i n t l i n e s s . Once there l i v e d a valiant knight, E l i d u c , who was  happily married to a noble lady, Guildeluec, i n Britanny.  The malice of Eliduc's enemies induced the king to banish him from the court.  Eliduc decided to leave the land, where  he was wrongly held to be a t r a i t o r , and he decided to seek glory on the f i e l d of b a t t l e i n foreign lands.  Having r e -  commended h i s wife to the care and protection of f r i e n d s , and having promised to remain f a i t h f u l to her, E l i d u c set s a i l and landed i n Toteneis near Exeter. region was He was  an old man who  The king of t h i s  had an only daughter, G u i l l i a d u n .  at war with a neighbour, to whom the hand of the  king's daughter had been refused. services to t h i s king.  Eliduc offered his  Three days a f t e r Eliduc's a r r i v a l ,  the news spread that the king's enemies were going to attack and engage i n b a t t l e . men  E l i d u c set out with ten of his  own  and fourteen of the king's knights, to make a surprise  attack against the enemy.  His plan succeeded.  The enemy  leader and t h i r t y knights were captured and a considerable amount of booty was  acquired.  The king, who  was  waiting  f o r the news of b a t t l e i n his tower, saw a great number of knights approaching and thought that he had been betrayed by E l i d u c .  His fears changed to joy when he was t o l d about  the defeat of h i s enemies.  The king decided to engage Eliduc  f o r one year i n paid m i l i t a r y service and make him warden of  - 160 the region.  The king's daughter, Guilliadun, who had heard  much about Eliduc, summoned him to her presence and on t h i s , their f i r s t  meeting, f e l l i n love with him. Eliduc, having  noticed that the king's daughter was attracted to him, regretted not having met her before; on the other hand, he remembered the promise he had made to h i s wife before leaving Britanny.  The king's daughter, i n the meantime, had decided  she wanted Eliduc as l o v e r and husband.  On her chamberlain's  advice, a f t e r a l i t t l e hesitation, she sent Eliduc her ring and her g i r d l e . his  E l i d u c , on t h i s occasion, put the ring on  finger, encircled h i s waist with the g i r d l e , but made  no attempt to give expression to h i s feelings f o r the king's daughter i n the chamberlain's  presence.  Guilliadun next  decided that she would t e l l Eliduc she loved him. She could not know the c o n f l i c t that was taking place i n Eliduc's mind. The king, one day, introduced h i s daughter o f f i c i a l l y to Eliduc.  I t was on t h i s occasion, when Eliduc had thanked  Guilliadun f o r her presents, that the l a t t e r declared her love f o r him. Eliduc expressed h i s gratitude for her love; at  the same time he pointed out that at the end of his  year's service with the king, her father, he would have to return to Britanny.  Guilliadun r e p l i e d that, no doubt,  before then, he would have arranged what was to become of her.  After t h i s episode the lovers saw each other often. Eliduc made a prisoner of the king's enemy and thus  put an end to the warfare which had raged for so long i n the  - 161 land.  Eliduc heard from his own l i e g e - l o r d i n Britanny,  whose enemies had invaded h i s t e r r i t o r i e s .  His old master  now r e a l i s e d that he had done Eliduc an i n j u s t i c e by banning him from the court, and he now begged him to return speedily to help him defend h i s t e r r i t o r y .  E l i d u c , there-  fore, asked the English king f o r permission to leave the country.  This the king granted, a f t e r Eliduc had promised  he would come back i f he were needed. When Guilliadun heard the news of her lover's impending departure, she f a i n t e d .  Later she asked that he  take her with him, but Eliduc f e l t that, as long as he was i n her father's service, he could not elope with her.  He  promised, however, to return l a t e r and take her back t o Britanny. When Eliduc reached Britanny, he was welcomed by his wife and by his f r i e n d s . that he was unhappy.  His wife soon noticed, however,  She feared that someone might have  maligned her or c r i t i c i z e d her conduct during Eliduc's absence and that t h i s might have saddened him.  Eliduc r e -  assured her,,however, explaining that the promise he had given the English king to return a f t e r the end of the war i n Britanny was a source of anxiety to him.  As soon as  peace had been secured i n Britanny, Eliduc returned to England, accompanied by two nephews, a r e l i a b l e chamberlain, and h i s squires.  His boat beached safely and he sent his  chamberlain t o bring back h i s beloved.  The party embarked  - 162 at Toteneis. On the return journey they experienced a t e r r i b l e storm.  A s a i l o r blamed Eliduc f o r the storm f o r ,  although he, Eliduc, was already l a w f u l l y married, he was taking another woman home.  The s a i l o r suggested that t h i s  woman be~~thrown overboard.  Guilliadun, on hearing the  s a i l o r ' s words, f e l l into a deep swoon. was dead.  Eliduc thought she  In a rage he knocked down the s a i l o r with an oar  and cast him into the sea.  He then took the helm and  steered the boat back to land.  Eliduc decided to carry  Guilliadun to a chapel near a hermitage, not f a r from his own home.  He thought he would bury Guilliadun there, and  above the place where h i s beloved rested, he would found an abbey.  Eliduc l e f t Guilliadun i n front of the church-altar,  f o r he f e l t he would have to consult the wise men of the land about a suitable burial-place.  Broken-hearted, he  locked the chapel doors and departed. Eliduc's wife was happy to see him, but again she could not but note h i s extreme depression o f s p i r i t s .  In  the morning, a f t e r mass, he went to the chapel, where Guilliadun l a y , and after praying and weeping, he returned home.  Eliduc's wife discovered, through a trusted servant,  that her husband often v i s i t e d the chapel.  On that same  day, when Eliduc had gone to the court to pay the king a v i s i t , she l e f t with the servant f o r the chapel.  As soon  as she saw the dead maiden, she knew she had solved the mystery of her husband's behaviour.  She was overcome with  - 163 sadness at the thought that such a b e a u t i f u l woman had died, and she understood her husband's melancholy. A weasel came scurrying along and passed over the dead body. dead.  The servant struck i t and l e f t i t on the ground,  The animal's mate soon appeared and when i t had seen  what had happened, i t went o f f to the wood and returned with a red flower, which i t placed i n the dead animal's mouth. The l a t t e r immediately came to l i f e again. the  The lady t o l d  squire to wrest the flower from the animal's mouth.  Having obtained i t , she then placed the flower between Guilliadun's l i p s and the l a t t e r awoke from her deep slumber. Guilliadun sighed and complained b i t t e r l y about her fate and Eliduc's treachery. Guildeluec, however, defended her husband.  She claimed that she knew how unhappy Eliduc had  been since Guilliadun's supposed death.  Guildeluec then  stated she would take the v e i l and thus allow Eliduc to marry Guilliadun.  The ladies returned to the castle together  and Guildeluec t o l d her husband how they had met. was overjoyed to see Guilliadun again.  Eliduc  Eliduc agreed to  provide the means f o r founding a convent i n the neighbourhood of the c a s t l e , where Guildeluec would take the v e i l . married G u i l l i a d u n .  Eliduc  The couple l i v e d happily together f o r  many years and f i n a l l y , they too, f e l t the c a l l of the religious l i f e .  On the other side of the c a s t l e , Eliduc  caused a monastery to be b u i l t .  He took holy orders himself  and h i s wife Guilliadun was welcomed i n the convent, into  - 164  -  which she betook h e r s e l f by Eliduc's f i r s t wife, In the l a i E l i d u c , there are three main a l l of whom, i n the end,  She  i s a young g i r l , who  for the f i r s t time. her a v i s i t .  characters  appear to aspire to s a i n t l i n e s s .  Guilliadun has heard about Eliduc's exploits and him.  Guildeluec.  admires  has probably f a l l e n i n love  I t i s at her request that Eliduc pays  After the meeting she spends a sleepless night.  She has, however, made up her mind to have Eliduc as a lover and husband.  She takes the i n i t i a t i v e again, by sending a  chamberlain to Eliduc with a r i n g and g i r d l e .  Eliduc accepts  the r i n g and g i r d l e , but only thanks the chamberlain and offers him presents which the l a t t e r declines. wonders what t h i s means.  Did Eliduc accept the g i f t s  cause he loved her or because he was she been betrayed?  Guilliadun  chivalrous?  Or  behas  At t h e i r next meeting Eliduc thanks the  lady for the presents she sent him.  I t i s then that Guilliadun  declares her love for him.  When Eliduc informs her l a t e r  he must return to Britanny,  she f a i n t s i n his arms.  wishes to elope with him immediately. his  She  However she accepts  proposal that he should return f o r her on a set  She has complete confidence i n her lover.  day.  L i t t l e wonder  then, that she f a l l s into a deep swoon when, during  the  t e r r i b l e storm, the s a i l o r denounces E l i d u c , stating that he i s already married. Eliduc i s a valiant warrior whose exploits are related i n the f i r s t part of the story, but what r e a l l y  - 165 interests Marie de France i s the gradual growth of love between the knight and G u i l l i a d u n .  Eliduc has sworn to  remain f a i t h f u l to h i s wife, Guildeluec, i n Britanny. Guilliadun's charm, innocence, and spontaneity, however, soon make a great impression upon E l i d u c , who also f a l l s i n love.  The c o n f l i c t that i s taking place within Eliduc's  mind (love f o r h i s wife and love for Guilliadun) reaches a climax shortly before he leaves f o r Britanny.  When Guilliadun,  on being informed of h i s departure, f a i n t s i n his arms, he kisses her saying: "Par deu," f e t i l , ma dulce amie, sufrez un poi que jo vus die: vus estes ma vie a ma mort, en vus est t r e s t u t mun confortl Guilliadun, on hearing that Eliduc i s already married, f a l l s into a deep swoon. think she i s dead.  Eliduc and h i s companions  His friends wish to bury her immediately,  but he places the body i n front of the a l t a r of the hermitage chapel, because he f i r s t wishes to discuss with the wise men of the land, the construction of an abbey or monastery which w i l l be erected there where his beloved w i l l be buried. Eliduc states he w i l l no longer bear arms, but w i l l become a monk.  He intends to l e t his g r i e f resound every day on  Guilliadun's tomb. In the l a i of Fraisne, the heroine's virtue or s a i n t l i n e s s , derives from the fact that she accepts her i l l deserved fate with courage and dignity.  But Guildeluec's  love f o r her husband i s so great that she v o l u n t a r i l y releases  - 166 her husband from h i s vows and takes the v e i l , thus allowing Eliduc to marry G u i l l i a d u n . When Eliduc returns on the f i r s t occasion from Logres, Guildeluec notices anxiously h i s depression of s p i r i t s .  She  thinks someone has maligned her or c r i t i c i z e d her conduct during his absence.  She therefore suggests that she be  allowed t o j u s t i f y h e r s e l f , i f necessary, before Eliduc's vassals, but Eliduc explains that he i s only depressed at the thought of having t o return to Logres when the war i n Britanny i s over. Eliduc returns on a second occasion to Britanny under the impression that Guilliadun i s dead.  He has her  body conveyed t o the hermitage, which i s situated i n a wood near h i s c a s t l e .  Eliduc places the body i n front of the  a l t a r i n the chapel. rejoins h i s wife.  A f t e r locking the chapel doors, Eliduc  Again Guildeluec notes anxiously that he  i s gloomy and dejected.  Having promised a valet g i f t s and  rewards, Guildeluec has him spy on her husband.  The servant  reports that h i s master had entered the chapel and that he (the servant) had heard the sound of weeping.  Guildeluec  does not consider the death of the hermit to be a l i k e l y cause of such g r i e f .  That same day, while Eliduc i s paying  a v i s i t to the king, his wife decides to enter the chapel accompanied by her v a l e t . l y i n g apparently dead. jealousy.  I t i s then that she sees Guilliadun  She evinces no f e e l i n g s of anger or  She f e e l s only p i t y f o r the b e a u t i f u l young woman,  - 167 l y i n g before her, and sympathy f o r her own husband.  She  says to the chamberlain: "Veiz t u , " f e t ele, 'eeste femme, k i de belte resemble gemme? Ceo est l'amie mun seignur, pur qui i l meine t e l dolur. Par f e i , jeo, ne m'en merveil mie, quant s i bele femme est perie, Tant par p i t i e , tant par amur j a mes n'avrai j o i e nul j u r . Then there occurs the weasel episode.  Guildeluec  has seen the weasel revive i t s dead companion by placing a red flower i n i t s mouth.  She has thought immediately of  applying the red flower to Guilliadun's l i p s , so that she, too, may revive.  In t h i s way her own husband w i l l no longer  suffer. When Guilliadun awakes from her long sleep, she t e l l s Guildeluec that she has been betrayed by E l i d u c , but Guildeluec comes to her husband's defence.  She has seen how unhappy  he was—there can be no doubt that h i s love f o r Guilliadun i s genuine. Later, Guildeluec explains she wishes to take the v e i l "Kar n'est pas bien ne avenant - de dous espuses meintenir" (lines 1128-1129).  Many years l a t e r Eliduc and Guilliadun  also decide to spend the remaining years of t h e i r l i v e s i n a r e l i g i o u s order and so i t comes about that Guildeluec and Guilliadun, who are now i n the same "convent," both pray for the soul of t h e i r f r i e n d , who i s a monk i n a neighbouring monastery (and he prays f o r t h e i r souls too!).  - 168  -  Eliduc seems to have r e a l i z e d from the beginning that his love for Guilliadun raised certain important problems, "S'a cresteintez," pious.  m'amie esteie espusez, - nel s u f e r r e i t (lines 601-602).  He appears to have been  Before v i s i t i n g the chapel, where Guilliadun's body-  lay, f o r example, he would hear mass. Guilliadun's soul, of course. give Guildeluec  He prayed for  He immediately agrees to  the land and property she asks f o r , and sees  to i t that a convent and houses are b u i l t i n the of the c a s t l e .  vicinity  After t h e i r marriage, Guilliadun and he give  alms and do good deeds.  Then, they too, enter Holy Orders.  Guilliadun joins Guildeluec  i n the convent, and Eliduc puts  a l l his wealth into the project of building a monastery, where he himself becomes a monk.  Marie de France has led  the reader gradually to the r e l i g i o u s ending of t h i s lay. The  f i r s t part of the l a i of Eliduc contains a  description of the feudal wars (lines 1-270). part  The  second  ( l i n e s 271-1144) i s the story of Eliduc's love for  Guilliadun, on the one hand, and his feelings of duty towards his wife, on the other.  The t h i r d part  refers to s p i r i t u a l love.  (lines 1144-1184)  The three main characters i n  Eliduc are aspiring to s a i n t l i n e s s , which i s the theme of the t h i r d section.  Eliduc becomes more thoughtful and  as he grows older.  The  pious,  c o n f l i c t between love and duty must  have caused him great s u f f e r i n g .  Guilliadun with her charm,  spontaneity and innocence, reminds us of Fresne.  She i s ,  - 169 deeply devoted to her lover, whom she admires, cherishes, and t r u s t s .  There i s , at l e a s t , an element of s a i n t l i n e s s  i n Guilliadun. of the three.  Guildeluec  i s the most s a i n t l y character  However, Eliduc and Guilliadun are t r a v e l l i n g ,  i t would seem, on the road to perfection. This part of the l a i r e c a l l s to mind S t . Patrick i n the Espurgatoire or Owen among the blessed of the T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise.  The desire of the three main characters  i n Eliduc,  towards the end of the l a i , i s undoubtedly, the salvation of t h e i r souls and union with God. The f i r s t three lays discussed  i n this chapter—  B i s c l a v r e t , Equitan, and C h a i t i v e l — a r e , of a l l Marie's L a i s , those that best i l l u s t r a t e the theme of s i n .  The l a s t two  l a y s — F r e s n e and Eliduc (especially the l a t t e r ) develop most f u l l y the theme of s a i n t l i n e s s . With the discussion of these f i v e l a i s , t h i s analysis of the theme of Saints and Sinners i n the Lais of Marie de France comes to an end.  Related to the themes of S i n and Saintliness i n the lays and fables i s the "sensus moralis"  of the Prologue to  Lais and that of the Prologue to the Fables. The writer has already referred to certain sections of the Prologue to the L a i s (in Chapters I and IV), and now proposes to examine two passages, mainly l i n e s 9-22^ and  Appendix G  - 170 lines  4-8.  1  2  Spitzer"* has indicated that l i n e s 9-22 r e f e r to the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of a work of a r t , where the reader has added comments a f t e r the manner of the "Gloss" technique employed i n b i b l i c a l exegesis.  Marie de France considers her work  as one more "text" to be "glossed," as was the Old Testament by T e r t u l l i a n , Augustine, and Jerome, f o r example. Ewert  3  has translated l i n e s 12-16:  I t was the custom among the a n c i e n t s — s o t e s t i f i e s P r i s c i a n u s — i n the books, which they wrote i n olden times to put t h e i r thoughts somewhat obscurely, so that those who were to come a f t e r them and who were to learn them, might continue t h e i r writing and add to i t from t h e i r own ingenuity. The words "sen" and "surplus" have been interpreted i n d i f f e r e n t ways.  Spitzer considers "sen" to be the C h r i s t i a n  attitude of the interpreters of "Texts."  These readers  consult the pagan authors who have d e l i b e r a t e l y v e i l e d "with the obscurity of poetic form, the eternal v e r i t i e s . " Marie appears to be making excuses f o r the "form" of her lays. Robertson^ maintains that i f we take " l e t t r e " and "sen," as technical terms and suppose "surplus" to be a synonym f o r  Appendix G. 2 Leo Spitzer, "The Prologue to the L a i s of Marie de France and Medieval Poetics," Romanische Literatur-Studien, 1936-56, (Tubingen: 1959), pp. 3-14. 3 Marie de France, op. c i t . , p. 163. ^D.W. Robertson, "Marie de France, L a i s , Prologue, 3-16," Modern Language Notes, LXIV (1949), 336.  - 171 a t h i r d technical term, to be understood i n the l i g h t of the f i r s t two, the t r a n s l a t i o n can be made more precise. In the schools, a text would be studied at three d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s — t h e " l i t t e r a , " i . e . the grammatical explanation, then the "sensus," the apparent sense, and f i n a l l y the "sententia," a deep understanding of the author's thought or the d o c t r i n a l content.  This method was applied  to the study of profane authors, as well as the study of the scriptures (G. Pare'', A. Brunet, and P. Tremblay, La Renaissance du X I I  l e m e  siecle.  Les Ecoles et l'enseignement  (Paris, Ottawa, 1933, p. 116)). Theologians of the Twelfth Gentury appear to show contempt f o r those who are only able to discover the sense of scripture, without proceeding to the sentence.  Robertson  thinks i t possible that the same attitude existed among those who  studied profane texts.  He therefore suggests the  following t r a n s l a t i o n f o r l i n e s 13-16:  "So that those, who  were to come after and learn them, might gloss the l e t t e r or grammatical structure and from the apparent sense, determine the d o c t r i n a l content." Spitzer  1  has explained the equation Poetry s Theology,  which he found mainly i n C u r t i u s .  2  The Church fathers could  j u s t i f y the pagan poets by declaring them to be "poetae  Spitzer, op. c i t . , pp.  3-14.  2  Ernst Robert Curtius, "Theologische Poetik im i t a l i e n i s c h e n Trecento," Z e i t s c h r i f t f u r Romanische P h i l o l o g i e , LX (1940), 1 f f .  - 172 theologi."  The term could then be applied to the C h r i s t i a n  theologian-poets.  The theological l i t e r a t u r e of C h r i s t i a n i t y  i s poetic and the poetic l i t e r a t u r e of paganism i s theological.  As for the equation poetry  s  philosophy, Spitzer  claims that t h i s was an idea of l a t e antiquity, attested as l a t e as the Thirteenth Century. This equation, Poetry - Philosophy - Theology r e f l e c t s the desire to "unify the various s p i r i t u a l a c t i v i t i e s of creative man."  I t was Cassiodorus who wrote, " A l l the artes  come from God" (see Spitzer, op. c i t . , p. 9 ) . Thus " l i philosophe" of the prologue to the fables and " l i  Philosophe"  of l i n e 17 i n the Prologue to the L a i s (also " l i ancien pere" i n the Prologue to the Fables and " a n c i e n s " — l i n e 9 i n the Prologue to the Lais) r e f e r to the poetae - theologi philosophi, revealed by Curtius; i . e . "the 'clerks' of antiquity, whom Marie naively invests with medieval trappings." (Jauss  1  has also pointed out that " l e s bons proverbes" i n the  Prologue to the Fables, l i n e £, are to be understood as works of C h r i s t i a n Salvation!) Spitzer explains why P r i s c i a n i s mentioned i n the Prologue to the L a i s .  The o r i g i n a l Greek word f o r grammatica  had exactly the same meaning as the L a t i n word l i t t e r a t u r a . Since Q u i n t i l i a n , the combined terms have acquired the 1  "  i  Hans Robert Jauss, "Uber die hofische Tendenz i n den Fabeln der Marie de France," Untersuchungen zur m i t t e l a l t e r l i c h e n Tierdichtung. Beihefte zur Z e i t s c h r i f t f u r Romanische P h i l o l o g i e . 100. Heft (Tubingen: 1959), S. 24 f f , p. 30.  - 173 meaning "recte loquandi scientiam et poetarum enarrationem"-or exercises of grammar (and style) and explanations of poetry, or, as we might, say now,  l i n g u i s t i c s and l i t e r a r y  history; even under Charlemagne enarratio was an i n t e g r a l part of the grammatica.  Thus i t was p e r f e c t l y l o g i c a l that  Marie should have chosen a grammarian as a type of "homo literatus." Ewert"*" has translated l i n e s 4-3 of the Prologue to the  Lais as follows:  "When a thing of virtue i s heard by  the  many, then f o r the f i r s t time does i t blossom f o r t h ,  and when i t i s praised by the multitude, then has i t burst into f u l l bloom." The writer, at the r i s k of appearing to digress, would l i k e at t h i s point to r e f e r to Robertson's contribution 2  "Love Conventions i n Marie's Equitan" which has already been discussed, when that p a r t i c u l a r l a i was analysed. the  Towards  end of t h i s learned a r t i c l e , the author asserts that he  agrees with Hoepffner that Marie's intention i n the l a i of Equitan was didactic and moralising.  He claims, however,  that, as such terms have unpleasant connotations i n our time, one should, perhaps, t r y to express t h i s truth i n a d i f f e r e n t manner.  One might state, therefore, that i n t h i s  p a r t i c u l a r l a i of Marie de France ( i . e .  Equitan) "the story  ^"Marie de France, op. c i t . , p. 163. 2 Robertson, op. c i t . , p. 245.  - 174 i l l u s t r a t e s i n terms of concrete p a r t i c u l a r s , f a m i l i a r to her audience something she regarded as a respectable and useful philosophic idea."  Philosophic ideas, a f t e r a l l ,  are of l i t t l e value i f no one can understand them.  Robertson  concludes, by pointing out that Marie de France h e r s e l f best expressed t h i s point by writing l i n e s 4-8 i n the Prologue. Now,  obviously, Robertson's reference to "uns granz  biens" as a respectable and useful philosophic idea i s not meant as a l i t e r a l t r a n s l a t i o n . the r e a l meaning of the term. term as a goodly thing." rt  of v i r t u e . "  I t i s an attempt to give  Miss R i c k e r t  Professor Ewert  2  1  translates the  writes "a thing  Assuming, however, that Spitzer i s correct i n  his interpretation of l i n e s 9-22,  the advantage of thinking  of the term "un granz biens" as a "respectable and useful philosophic idea," would i n the opinion of t h i s writer be that i n l i n e s 1-27 of the Prologue there would be no r e a l break i n the meaning.  I t has usually been held (or f e l t ! )  that there was a break between l i n e s 1-8 and l i n e s  9-22.  For example, Donovan r e f e r s to Marie's "abrupt s h i f t of 3  thought."  ^Edith Rickert, Marie de France: done into English, (London: 1901J.  Seven of her Lays  ^Marie de France, op. c i t . , p. 163. ^Mortimer J . Donavan, " P r i s c i a n and the Obscurity of the Ancients," Speculum, XXXVI, 1961, 75-80.  - 175 It seems to the writer that Marie de France i s t r y i n g to say that important  philosophical truths should  be f i t t i n g l y i l l u s t r a t e d (or explained) by the writer (lines 1-9)  and that the reader should then continue  process of explanation i n h i s "gloss" technique The connecting l i n k between l i n e s 1-3  this  (lines 9-22).  and l i n e s 9-22  seems  to be the idea of a process of explanation, on which Marie lays great s t r e s s .  Reference i s made to t h i s process of  i l l u s t r a t i o n or explanation i n l i n e s 6-3, f l o r a l imagery.  by means of the  A similar (although not i d e n t i c a l ! ) process  of explanation i s involved i n the "gloss" technique.  A  "gloss" i s , of course, a special explanation of each word i n a text (where the meaning of one word i s c l a r i f i e d by another word).  B a s i c a l l y , however, a gloss i s an explanation.  In the same way,  an i l l u s t r a t i o n i s an explanation, whether  i t be picture, diagram, story or analogy. therefore, employ the equation:  One might,  i l l u s t r a t i o n - explanation  gloss, and f r e e l y t r a n s l a t e l i n e s 1-27,  where no r e a l break  i n the meaning would appear, i n the following manner: who  a  has t a l e n t , should not hesitate to write.  He  Useful and  respectable philosophic ideas should be f i t t i n g l y i l l u s t r a t e d ( i . e . explained).  In the past, the pagan authors who  wrote,  somewhat obscurely, knew that future generations would "gloss" t h e i r work, i . e . explain i t .  They knew that  men  would become more subtle of mind i f they increased t h e i r knowledge by study and by expounding t e x t s .  In t h i s  way,  - 176 they (the new generations) would, to some extent, be i n a position to repel s i n and avoid damnation ("dolur" meaning sorrow, probably means damnation here).  One wonders, a f t e r  noting t h i s emphasis on the process of explanation, whether Marie de France was not acquainted with the beginnings of scholasticism, which has been defined as "the medieval attempt to systematize and explicate revealed truth i n corr e l a t i o n with a philosophical  system.  Mi  I f t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s correct, then i t would mean that there i s an important break i n the Prologue only at l i n e 28, where Marie writes, "Pur ceo commencai a penser." Lines 1-27 would reach a climax, as i t were with the word "vice" (sin) and f i n i s h at l i n e 27 with "dolur" (damnation). Thus Marie's message i s that deep, important truths must be continually examined and explained afresh.  This  i s hard work but i t may help to ward o f f s i n . Another implication of l i n e s 4-8 i s that i n Marie's opinion, to be a good writer you must be able to entertain. What sort of audience did Marie's lays appeal to, then? 2 E.A. Francis  states that the Tables were addressed to "un  publique laique dont l e s gouts aristocratiques sont i n deniables" and i t i s more than probable that the Lais were M a r t i n E. Marty, A Short History of C h r i s t i a n i t y , Meridian Books, 1959, p. ^7T. 2 Elizabeth A. Francis, "Marie de France et son Temps," Romania, XLXXII, (1951), p. 78. x  - 177 intended f o r the same audience.  Hans Robert Jauss"*" points  out that Marie not only introduced a lower genre, the " v u l gares fabellae" into a courtly milieu successfully, she also transformed the animal fable into a higher genre.  Jauss  states:  Hence  "Sie hat die T i e r f a b e l v e r r i t t e r l i c h t * . " 1  i n the Prologue to the Fables, the poetess f e l t she had to explain t h i s transformation. She does t h i s , f i r s t , by stating that she does not wish to be considered " v i l e i n e " and, secondly, by attaching considerable importance to the process of " t r a n s l a t i o . "  She, purposely, confers upon the originator  (and t r a n s l a t o r ! ) of the genre and h i s continuators, prestige or rank.  Thus Esope, an "ancien pere," i s raised to the  rank of a pagan author, Romulus i s given the t i t l e Emperor, A l f r e d ( i n the Epilogue!) i s referred to as a King, and William i s c a l l e d Count William.  In t h i s manner, Marie de  France raised the "genre" to suit her Twelfth Century audience. The use of the o c t o s y l l a b i c couplet (instead of prose, as i n the Romulus Nilantinus) also helped to raise the "genre." Jauss i s of the opinion that Marie's ethic i n the animal fables i s mainly a feudal e t h i c — " d a s Gute und das Bose des feudalen Ethos, Treue ( f e i ) , und Treulosigkeit (felunie)."  Everything appears to revolve mainly around the  conceptions of " l e i a l t e " or " f e l u n i e . "  Jauss, op. c i t . , p. 23.  - 178 In another important group of fables, however, to which reference w i l l be made l a t e r , Marie s "philosophie" T  seems to centre round the concept of a "nature," which i s d i v i n e l y ordained.  F i n a l l y , Jauss asserts that the "sensus  moralis" of the Prologue to the Fables i s no more e x p l i c i t than that of the L a i s .  He believes, l i k e Spitzer, however,  that Marie was aware of her role as a "Poeta philosophus et theologus."  The equation Poetry  =  Philosophy  s  i s also implied i n the Prologue to the Fables.  Theology  CHAPTER VII CONCLUSION The theme of s i n runs l i k e a thread through the texture of a l l three works of Marie de France. In the Espurgatoire. the theme i s elaborated upon considerably.  The r e f u s a l of the I r i s h to allow themselves  to be converted to C h r i s t i a n i t y i s a cause of great sorrow to St. Patrick, who prays, f a s t s , and does penance f o r t h e i r sins.  Jesus then appears to him and reveals the s i t e  of Saint Patrick's Purgatory, thereby enabling the I r i s h to see f o r themselves, as they had requested, the rewards that are a l l o t t e d to the Saints and the punishments meted out to the sinners i n the L i f e after death. After Saint Patrick's death, a certain knight, Owen, decides to atone f o r h i s sins.  He v i s i t s the cavern known  as Saint Patrick's Purgatory, and sees the tortures of the damned i n h e l l , and the b l i s s of the redeemed i n the T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise.  There are several anecdotes about  s i n i n the Espurgatoire.  Early i n the narrative, for example,  there i s the story of the old Irishman, who had  committed  f i v e murders and injured several people, and who did not know t h i s was a s i n .  Towards the end of the narrative poem, - 179 -  - 180  -  too, there are a few anecdotes, the theme of which i s , again, s i n — t h a t of the f i r s t hermit, who demons, who  i s tempted by-  appeared as naked women—that of the second  hermit l e v i l e i n qui se parjura," and that of the p r i e s t n  who  decides i n the end, not to seduce the young g i r l whom  he has adopted.  Very few s p e c i f i c sins are mentioned i n  the Espurgatoire; to,  that of the old Irishman already referred  i s an exception  to the r u l e .  On the other hand, i n the Fables, a great number of s p e c i f i c sins or vices are mentioned—for example, pride, arrogance, envy, treachery, deceit, slander, robbery, t h e f t , malice, greed, covetousness, miserliness, and  lechery.  In the L a i s , sometimes the s i n i s mentioned specif i c a l l y , f o r example, i n the "exposition" of Fresne, i t i s slander.  Usually, however, the s i n becomes apparent i n the  course of the narrative.  Thus the s i n of the lady i n  C h a i t i v e l i s egoism or pride. of the lovers. wife.  In Equitan,  i t i s the  lechery  In B i s c l a v r e t , the treachery of B i s c l a v r e t ' s  In Guigemar, the s i n i s pride, i n Laostic  Chevrefoil, i t i s adultery.  and  A l l these are sins that f a l l  within the scope of the d e f i n i t i o n suggested at the end Chapter I I , where s i n was God,  of  described as a movement away from  or as a state which i s marked by the absence of perfect  harmony with God.  In t h i s sense, the sins that have so f a r  been described i n the Espurgatoire, are theological sins.  The  the Fables, and the Lais  s i n i n Milun, which i s the  non-  - 181  -  observance of a r e l i g i o u s sacrament, would be a theological sin too.  Marie de France, however, appears to be interested  mainly i n the fact that love has to be concealed as a result of t h i s s i n .  1  There are a number of sins mentioned i n the  lais,  which are sins only i n the sense of being a f a u l t or a misdemeanour.  Such are the sins found i n Lanval and Yonec,  where the f a u l t s (that of "vantance" and of "desmesure") are not theological sins.  In the same way,  i n "Les Deus  Amanz," the sin i s not t h e o l o g i c a l , for i t i s again "desmesure" or " f o l i e . " There are, therefore, seven l a y s — F r e s n e  ("exposition"  only), C h a i t i v e l . Equitan. B i s c l a v r e t . Guigemar. Laostie. Chevrefoil—where the theme of s i n i s either implied, i l l u s t r a t e d and developed.  One  or  might also include Milun  i n the same group (but there are arguments against t h i s procedure, as has been explained).  There are, then, seven,  or possibly, eight lays, where the theme of s i n plays  an  important r o l e i n the L a i s . In the Prologue to the Lais ( l i n e s 1-27), an exhortation  to avoid sin i s delivered and the manner of  achieving t h i s , to some extent^ indicated.  Again, i n the  Prologue to the Fables ( l i n e s 1-10), the poetess strongly  Jeanne Lods, Marie de France: les L a i s . Classiques francais du Moyen Age (Paris: 1959).  Les  - 182 urges the educated to read and study such books as may benefit them most ( i . e .  the C h r i s t i a n Works of Salvation).  In the l a s t three l i n e s of the Epilogue to the Fables, Marie de France indicates that she intends to work hard with a view to the salvation of her own soul.  F i n a l l y , i n the  l a s t two l i n e s of the Epilogue to the Espurgatoire, she prays that we may a l l be cleansed of our sins. The theme of s a i n t l i n e s s appears i n two of Marie's three works—the Espurgatoire and the L a i s .  In the  Espurgatoire, a miracle occurs, when Jesus appears to St. Patrick, gives him a Bible and s t a f f , and shows him the cavern, l a t e r to be known as St. Patrick's Purgatory.  Many  years l a t e r , a certain knight, Owen, v i s i t i n g the cavern witnesses the tortures of sinners i n Purgatory and the b l i s s of the saints i n T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise.  Owen, on t h i s  occasion, sees the portals of the C e l e s t i a l Paradise, the home of the Saints.  On one occasion, too, c e l e s t i a l rays  f a l l upon the heads of a l l those assembled and Owen becomes aware of the Ineffable Presence.  On h i s return to the world,  he leads an exemplary, almost s a i n t l y , l i f e .  The theme of  s a i n t l i n e s s i s also i l l u s t r a t e d i n one of the anecdotes towards the end of the narrative poem.  When G i l b e r t , an  abbot i n England, relates Owen's adventures to an audience of monks, one of them questions the r e a l i t y of the apparitions. G i l b e r t , with a view to d i s p e l l i n g such doubts, then t e l l s the  story about the monk i n h i s own Order, who l e d such a  - 183  -  s a i n t l y l i f e , that demons abducted  him.  In the L a i s , the theme of s a i n t l i n e s s i s i l l u s t r a t e d , to some extent, i n Fresne.  A d l e r s views about Fresne herself T  seem to amount to the following:  that the equilibrium of  a c e r t a i n set of forces, s o c i a l and personal, r e s u l t s i n Fresne's courteous and gracious conduct.  One  of these forces,  according to Adler himself, i s C h r i s t i a n charm. the compelling  But surely  force i n Fresne's character i s the  strength  that she derives from the s p i r i t , which stands her i n good stead when she i s obliged to make way  for a r i v a l .  Inno-  cence, which i s one of Fresne's outstanding c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , implies freedom from sin or e v i l . i s strangely moving.  Her self-denying attitude  In t h i s charming, courageous and  devoted g i r l , there i s an element of s a i n t l i n e s s . In the l a s t f o r t y l i n e s of E l i d u c , the theme of s a i n t l i n e s s , which i s so c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e d i n the Espurgatoire, reappears. Chapter VI how  This writer attempted to show i n  the poetess had, to some extent, l a i d  the  foundations f o r t h i s ending, e a r l i e r i n the narrative poem— Eliduc's piety, f o r example, appears to increase as a r e s u l t of his love f o r Guilliadun and t h i s devotion to r e l i g i o u s duties and practices becomes most marked at Guilliadun's . supposed death.  In the l a s t f o r t y l i n e s , the t r a n s i t i o n  from piety to s a i n t l i n e s s or quasi-saintliness i s effected. The three main characters choose a l i f e of contemplation and prayer, and enter Holy Orders.  Although s a i n t l i n e s s i s  - 184 most prominent i n the case of Guildeluec, the characters  other two  also show elements of s a i n t l i n e s s .  The monks depicted Cistercians.  i n Marie's Espurgatoire are  I t i s not impossible that i n Eliduc Marie,  when r e l a t i n g the l i f e of the hero, was thinking i n terms of the C i s t e r c i a n i d e a l i n which body, soul, and s p i r i t were technical terms denoting the ascent of the soul to God. The f i r s t stage i n the ascent of the soul was that of the body:  a s e l f - l o v e without knowledge, l i m i t e d to  the immediate objects of g r a t i f i c a t i o n .  This stage would  correspond to the period when Eliduc was hired over long periods by various l i e g e - l o r d s as a warrior. to Guildeluec, who obviously loved him deeply.  He was married Medieval  marriage, however, did not necessarily imply a j o i n i n g of personalities or a merging of desires.  There may have been  a master-and-servant or owner-and-property attitude on Eliduc's part (see l i n e s 959-963).  Marie's description of  the r e l a t i o n s h i p ( l i n e s 9-12) i s b r i e f and general.  (It  w i l l also be remembered that i n C h a i t i v e l . the description of the lady i n the opening l i n e s was only part of the whole picture.  Most of Marie's lays resemble C h a i t i v e l , i n t h i s  sense, to some extent!)  The second stage of the ascent of  the soul to God was that i n which reason, whose seat was i n the soul, took a part and prompted a l i m i t e d and s e l f i s h  See R.W. Southern, The Making of the Middle Ages. (London: Hutchinson's University Library, Hutchinson House, 1953).  - 185 l o v e f o r the C r e a t o r and Bestower of E a r t h l y b l e s s i n g s . T h i s stage would correspond to the p e r i o d a f t e r has met G u i l l i a d u n .  Eliduc  There i s evidence i n the poem t h a t  h i s p i e t y has i n c r e a s e d w i t h the growth o f t h i s l o v e 601-602).  Before v i s i t i n g the c h a p e l , where G u i l l i a d u n  l a y a p p a r e n t l y dead, he would hear mass. soul,  (lines  of c o u r s e .  He prayed f o r her  E l i d u c a l s o a s s e r t e d t h a t he would become  a monk as soon as he had b u r i e d G u i l l i a d u n ( l i n e s 947-943). He l a t e r had a convent b u i l t f o r G u i l d e l u e c , and he and G u i l l i a d u n gave alms and d i d good deeds.  The t h i r d  stage  o f the ascent o f the s o u l to God was t h a t i n which the  love  o f God was f r e e d from i t s merely s e l f i s h and l i m i t e d aims and was enjoyed i n a l l faction.  its  sweetness and l i m i t l e s s  satis-  T h i s stage would correspond to the p e r i o d when  E l i d u c , having entered Holy O r d e r s , l e d a l i f e  o f contempla-  t i o n and p r a y e r . F u r t h e r , again a c c o r d i n g to S o u t h e r n  1  i n the  T w e l f t h C e n t u r y , men thought o f themselves l e s s as  late  stationary  o b j e c t s of a t t a c k by s p i r i t u a l f o e s and r a t h e r more as seekers or t r a v e l l e r s .  The imagery o f j o u r n e y i n g became a  popular e x p r e s s i o n f o r a s p i r i t u a l q u e s t .  (The  spiritual  i d e a l . o f p i l g r i m a g e had been e x i l e r a t h e r than movement.) It  would seem p o s s i b l e t h e n , t h a t even the  first  part o f E l i d u c — t h e p e r i o d c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o the d e s c r i p t i o n  Southern, I b i d . ,  p. 222  - 186  -  of the feudal w a r s — i s , to some extent, the beginning of a s p i r i t u a l quest on the part of the hero. Enough has been said by the writer to show that he would disagree with Miss E. Rickert's^" remark that the ending of Eliduc i s tacked on so abruptly as to suggest that i t was done l a t e r by someone who did not approve of the story as i t stood.  Certainly the ending appears to be somewhat  b r i e f , but i t i s e f f e c t i v e , f o r the reader i s given s u f f i c i e n t information about the three main characters to imagine f o r himself how they spent the remaining days of t h e i r l i v e s . It w i l l be remembered that, when Marie wished to describe s a i n t l i n e s s i n the Espurgatoire, she was sometimes compelled to use allegory.  At the end of the l a i of E l i d u c , s p i r i t u a l  love or quasi-saintliness i s again the theme.  How could  the poetess express p o e t i c a l l y the fact that s a t i s f a c t o r y s p i r i t u a l progress was being maintained by a l l three characters i n Eliduc?  She t e l l s us only that they are  t r a v e l l i n g along the road to perfection or s a i n t l i n e s s . This she does b r i e f l y , but e f f e c t i v e l y . It was suggested i n Chapter I I I , that the Espurgatoare was p a r t l y a propagandist work, i n the sense that the monk was working f o r the propagation of certain ideas, doctrines and practices, which would benefit the C i s t e r c i a n order, i n p a r t i c u l a r , and the Roman Catholic Church i n general.  How-  Edith Rickert, Marie de France: Seven of her Lays done into English (London: 1901}, Introduction, p. 146.  - 187 ever,  the  general  aim of  (aedificare),  to  tually.  audience  What  addressing? for  "laie  By the this  was  writes  gent"—i.e. of  class  equipment. nobles,  The  might  have t o  Century  fiefs,  hold  of  young  the  Twelfth  the  the  courts  of  nobles  Espurgatoire  was  intended  lay  nobles.  the  Century,  the  importance  They  were sole  of  now a  into  of  A  administration of  castle.  the  fighting  clergy,  distinct.  and d i r e c t  of  hereditary,  possession  society more  the  justice,  i n the  poetess  but  granted  to  spiri-  clergy,  h a d become  attend  build  the  classification  a n d commoners  to  m o r a l l y and  Twelfth  who h a d b e e n  was  and improve  that  not  the  Espurgatoire  n o b i l i t y had i n c r e a s e d .  ruling  lord  instruct,  She  middle  the  lay  great his  education  His chief  amusement  was  hunting. The with in  aristocratic  the  refers  to  der  gemma, not  in its  cannot  1  "fei"  the  1  to  do  this  ethic,  of  fables  where  -  beruht  auf  so. of  the  appreciate  "  eagle  "Die  ethic  which  centres  same  author  Wesens-  UnveranderlichI, a  LXXIv", for  audience  the  The  der  i n Fable  In Fable  lay  shown t h a t  and " f e l u n i e . "  possibly  flight  has  for  a feudal  F o r example,  cannot  nature  imitate  Jauss  Geschopfe 1  cock  intended  mainly  group  'nature ."  the  is  of  that  der  also  tastes.  concepts  ungleichheit keit  were  animal fables  round the also  Fables  De g a l l o jewel. the  the  It  et is  beetle  same  reason,  Hans R o b e r t J a u s s , " U b e r d i e h o f i s c h e Tendenz i n den F a b e l n d e r M a r i e de F r a n c e . Untersuchungen zur m i t t e l a l t e r l i c h e n T i e r d i c h t u n g , " B e i h e f t e zur Z e i t s c h r i f t f u r Romanische P h i l o l o g i e , 100. H e f t ( T u b i n g e n , 1959J, S . 24 f f .  - 188  -  and i n Fable XXIII, the mouse must choose " l a suricete p e t i t e " as a mate and not the sun or a tower. Words and phrases, such as "nature,", " d r e i t , " "us," "usage," "alever," " e s h a l c i e r , " and " r e n c l i n e r a ma nature" are a key to Marie's "philosophie" of "nature." This l a t t e r i s d i v i n e l y ordained.  Marie accepts the  h i e r a r c h i c a l structure of society and has only contempt for those who would climb above t h e i r stations.  Jauss  1  points out that very often the moral i n those fables ends with some such expression as "Veil l'avons ...."  In other  words, Marie i s only confirming what we know already.  The  idea of "another time" or an "amender" i s not r e a l l y implied i n the moral of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r group of Fables. "nature," i s of divine o r i g i n . seem to be fundamentally  This  Marie's "philosophie" would  orthodox.  The Lais of Marie de France were also intended f o r the same audience.  Denis Piramus  2  i n h i s Vie de St. Edmond,  v. 35-36, claims that Marie's lays are popular among counts, barons, and knights, and the ladies l i s t e n to them with delight.  This a r i s t o c r a t i c genre would have considerable  appeal f o r the lay nobles, who  believed i n the code of  chivalry. The Prologue to the Fables (lines 1-10) i s an exhortation to the learned to read and study the C h r i s t i a n  I b i d . , p. 3  2  (footnote).  2 Denis Piramus, "La Vie Seint Edmund l e r e i , " v. 35-35, ed. Florence Leftwich Ravenel, Bryn Mawr Monograph, (Philadelphia: Winston, 1906)  - 139 Works of Salvation, with a view to t h e i r own moral and s p i r i t u a l improvement and that of others. The Prologue to the Lais (lines 1-27)  In the same way,  i s an exhortation to  write, to study and to avoid s i n . Spitzer has shown that i n t h i s passage Marie i s conscious of her role as a "poeta philosophus et theologus."  I f these sections of the  prologues were intended f o r the l a y nobles, Marie would seem to be propounding the view that only matters of f a i t h , requiring elucidation, were an appropriate object of study f o r the i n t e l l e c t u a l s of the Twelfth Century.  These sections  of the prologues may have been intended, mainly, f o r posterity, however. The L a i s , and the Fables were, of course, much more entertaining than the Espurgatoire, yet fundamentally, Marie's message was the same i n a l l three cases.  There was  no difference of aim; there was only a difference of method or means. gent."  The Espurgatoire was a broadside, aimed at " l a i e  One might say that, whereas the Espurgatoire was a  f r o n t a l attack, the Fables and the Lais were flanking attacks.  Naturally, Marie was t r y i n g to entertain, but  she was also attempting to make t h i s r u l i n g class aware of i t s destiny ( r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s i s perhaps too modern a wordl). It should be remembered that the attitude of the l a y nobles was  probably rather worldly. Marie de France wrote not only f o r t h i s class of  society, but also f o r posterity.  She claims to be a serious  - 190 writer.  -  In the Epilogue to the Fables, she writes d i s -  approvingly about those scribes who would l i k e to take to themselves the credit of her work.  In Guigemar, she refers  to her fame and the jealousy i t causes others.  The  complexity  of Marie's writings—complexity of theme, symbol, form, and language—the  use of allegory, the attempt to elevate a  genre as i n the Fables, and i f we are to believe L. Foulet, the attempt to create a new genre, as i n the L a i s — a l l these reveal the great a r t i s t r y of the F i r s t French Poetess, but they also suggest that she was writing f o r posterity.  The  message was, to some extent, the same as she had t r i e d to convey to the lay nobles of the Twelfth Century—that future generations should also avoid s i n and seek salvation.  In  a l l p r o b a b i l i t y , she hoped that these generations would read, think about, and expound her texts.  Deep philoso-  phical or r e l i g i o u s truths must be continually examined and explained afresh.  Such hard work would help i n warding o f f  sin. The Prologue to the Fables (lines 1-10), the Prologue to the L a i s (lines 1 - 2 7 ) , and the L a i s of Guigemar, Fresne and Eliduc show Marie's interest i n theology and r e l i g i o n . The Fables are about problems of good and e v i l , f o l l y and wisdom.  The moral concern, which Marie de France reveals i n  t h i s work i s r e l i g i o u s .  As f o r the Espurgatoire, Marie de  France's interest i n r e l i g i o n appears i n the theological introduction (lines 3 0 - 8 8 ) , where reference i s made twice  - 191 to St. Gregory and once to S t . Augustine and to such delicate problems as the separation of the soul from the body and the existence of souls i n corporeal form. In the Homily, i t i s suggested that we help sinners expiate t h e i r sins by prayers f o r the dead, masses, alms giving, and good works on earth.  The poetess handles  problems concerning the Holy Orders—the monks are r e p r i manded f o r complaining about t h e i r hard l i f e and not thinking s u f f i c i e n t l y about the l i f e to come.  In the Homily  (lines  1419-1424) Marie de France touches on problems connected to Baptism—are the saints, i n T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise not there partly because they have been baptized?  She discusses  problems related to Penance—confession, " s a t i s f a c c i u n " and absolution.  The following theological concepts are d i s -  cussed i n the Espurgatoire: Purgatory, T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise, E t e r n i t y ( i n T e r r e s t r i a l Paradise and Purgatory), the F a l l and Grace.  There i s a reference to the Holy Ghost.  Lines  799-305 correspond closely to the B i b l i c a l language of the E p i s t l e of St. Paul to the Ephesians (Chapter VI). Miss Edith R i c k e r t  1  states that r e l i g i o n was quite  unimportant to the poetess u n t i l she wrote the Purgatory. Obviously t h i s statement i s based on the argument that the order of Marie's productions are L a i s , Fables, and Espurgatoire. Scholars disagree about t h i s order considerably and the  Rickert, op. c i t . , Introduction, p. 162.  - 192  -  writer does not wish to re-open t h i s subject.  Miss Rickert  also states that i n the Lays and Fables, Marie shows no interest i n r e l i g i o u s matters (p. 145,  Introduction).  Here  are some of the charges l e v e l l e d by Miss Rickert at Marie de France.  In the Lais there are very few prayers said and they  are as short as possible.  In Fresne. Marie cannot r e s i s t a  laugh at the Lord of Dol f o r h i s donation to the abbey; her creed i n Yonec would hardly s a t i s f y the orthodox; the divorce question i n Eliduc troubles her not at a l l . This writer would l i k e to begin with Miss Rickert's second point.  I t i s true that Marie de France cannot r e s i s t  a laugh at the Lord of Dol who,  i n order to see Fresne, whom  he loves, has to make g i f t s to the abbey, where Fresne r e sides.  Marie's laugh i s , no doubt, a kindly one—but what  i s more important, t h i s picturesque d e t a i l i s e f f e c t i v e , r e f l e c t i n g as i t does the s o l i d i t y and seriousness of that from which i t grows.  Secondly, i f Marie de France chooses  to include short prayers i n her L a i s , rather than long ones, or i f no prayers at a l l are said, there may be very good reasons f o r t h i s .  A long prayer would not be e f f e c t i v e ,  i . e . i t might hold up the narrative and too many prayers would produce a s i m i l a r r e s u l t .  The creed i n Yonec might not  please the orthodox, but i t does not follow that Marie's "attitude was thoroughly worldly" ( 1 4 6 ) .  Jeanne Lods, i n  her Introduction to "Les Lais de Marie de France," p. 2 5 , objects to the fact that Yonec i s compelled to partake of  - 193 the sacrament.  -  Referring'to the heroine of that l a i ,  she  writes: e l l e vent s'assurer que son amant est bon chre'tien et l u i impose une e'preuve qui peut paraitre sacrilege aux consciences un peu dedicates. Marie n'est pas the'ologienne, et dans l e s l a i s , tout au moins, e l l e se montre peu moraliste. But surely Yonec submits most w i l l i n g l y to the "epreuve." It i s he, who  says " l a semblance de vus prendrai" and i n  any case, t h i s kind of s i t u a t i o n only exists because of the strange amalgam of magic, r e l i g i o n and medieval chivalry i n the l a i . of Yonec.  T o l d o , r e f e r r i n g to the mingling of x  a l l three worlds i n Yonec, states " I I n'y a r i e n en cela de contraire aux croyances du moyen age ou l'on attribue aux saints meme l e s miracles des divinite"s pa'iennes."  Also, i n  the Twelfth Century, Andreas Capellanus, a clergyman, undertook to write what was de Amore.  c l e a r l y a secular work—the Tractatus  He could apparently believe, to some extent, both  i n the Church and i n profane love. The divorce question i n Eliduc i s a more delicate matter.  This writer does not f e e l q u a l i f i e d to o f f e r a  t h e o l o g i c a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n of the divorce.  He would disagree  however, with the statement "the divorce question troubles her not at a l l . "  The l a i of E l i d u c , viewed as a whole,  remains a deeply r e l i g i o u s l a y . worldly  Marie's attitude i s not a  one.  Pietro Toldo, "Yonec," Romanische Forschungen, t . XVI, 1904, pp. 6 0 9 - 2 9 .  - 194 What s t r i k e s the writer about some of the prayers that are offered to the Deity i n the Lais, i s that very often they occur at a turning-point or climax i n the story. For example, i n Fresne. when the young woman of gentle b i r t h expresses the hope that a "produm" w i l l f i n d the c h i l d , she says ( l i n e 116) " S i Deu plest, n u r r i r l a f e r a . "  On reaching  the convent-gate, she prays to God that the c h i l d may not perish (lines 162-164).  Then she turns round and notices  the fork of the ash-tree.  Before leaving the c h i l d , she  says another short prayer, "A Deu l e v e i r l e comanda" ( l i n e 174)•  When the worthy door-keeper finds the c h i l d i n the  fork of the ash-tree (line 190) "II en a Deu mult mercie^"— t h i s prayer, although short, i s h i s f i r s t reaction t o f i n d i n g the c h i l d .  Then Fresne i s adopted by the abbess and passes  as her niece.  A new phase of her l i f e has begun. In  Guigemar, again, when the magic ship sets s a i l ( i . e . when Guigemar leaves his world of f a m i l i a r surroundings behind him and a new phase of h i s l i f e , as i t were, i s about to begin), he prays t o God that he may l i v e (lines 200-202). Again the prayer occurs at a turning-point i n the narrative. The effect of the prayer may have been t o remove, t o some extent, the pride which i s so closely a l l i e d to h i s amorous l i s t l e s s n e s s or d i s a f f e c t i o n .  In Eliduc , the hero, overcome  with g r i e f at the thought of Guilliadun's death, prays f o r her soul.  I t i s after t h i s prayer, that Guildeluec, who has  u n t i l then remained i n the background  of the story, decides  - 195 she wishes to discover what i s happening i n the chapel. new phase of the narrative has begun.  A  These are only three  examples of the way i n which Marie de France introduces prayers into her L a i s .  The i n s e r t i o n of these prayers by  the poetess seems most appropriate and provides further evidence of her a r t i s t r y , and the prayers reveal Marie de France's interest i n r e l i g i o n . In Guigemar (lines 480-495), Marie r e f e r s to those churlish knights, who roam about the world i n search of pleasure, then boast of t h e i r e v i l deeds.  What they brag  about, however, i s not l o v e — i t i s s i n , f o l l y , or lechery. In her Lais, Marie de France provides many i l l u s t r a t i o n s of the love theme.  In Marie's view, love i s a natural,  spontaneous  passion, where the lovers must f e e l mutually  attracted.  Devotion, tenderness and t r u s t play an important  role.  In Marie's conception of love, reason also plays i t s  part as i s shown i n the l a i of E l i d u c .  The love between  Milun and h i s f r i e n d , which overcomes a l l obstacles over a long period of time evokes admiration i n Marie.  Self-  abnegation, such as i s found i n Fresne or Guildeluec, i s akin to the devotion which a l l lovers should share.  Love  should, at times, be stronger than death, (as i n Yonec,). The i d e a l love i s symbolized i n the intertwining of the honey-suckle and the hazel-tree; i f one dies, the other w i l l also wither away.  Marie has l i t t l e sympathy f o r old  husbands, who are tyrannical and j e a l o u s — i n such cases her  -  196  -  p i t y and compassion go to " l a mal-mariee."  On the  hand, punishment i s i n store f o r the treacherous (Bisclavret) or the f a i t h l e s s one  other  wife  (Equitan). or even for the  i n s e n s i t i v e woman (as i n C h a i t i v e l ) .  Perhaps F r a p p i e r  1  has best summed up Marie's approach to the problem of love when he writes:  " E l l e celebre, a l a f o i s en psychologue  et en moraliste, l a tendresse, The  l a fidelite', et l e denouement."  concept of destiny i s often a l l i e d to that of  love i n the L a i s .  This would seem natural, f o r the medieval  ethic (with i t s concept of sin) implied that man and lacking i n freedom of the w i l l .  was  corrupt  In the end, however,  destiny i s usually kind to lovers i n the Lais of Marie de France--this i s c e r t a i n l y true, at l e a s t , of Guigemar. Le Fresne. Lanval. Milun, and E l i d u c .  Love, i n Marie's Lais  can lead to s i n , suffering and death (as implied i n Chevrefoil) or to great virtue and s a i n t l i n e s s (as i n E l i d u c ) .  Marie,  f o r a l l her i n t e r e s t i n the subject, knows that even human love withers and d i e s .  It i s u n l i k e l y that Marie believed  i n the fundamental idea of "1'amour courtois," that love the fount and o r i g i n of a l l good. that genuine love was  was  She believed, however,  a good to be highly valued.  The Provencal theory of "1'amour courtois" expected, among other things, that court be paid only to a married woman.  As a r e s u l t of t h i s s t i p u l a t i o n , love and marriage  Jean Frappier (ed.) Les Romans Courtois (Paris: Classiques Larousse, n.d.), Introduction, p. 10. t  -  197 -  were placed i n t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t categories.  True love  was named " d i l e c t i o " — m a r r i e d love "affectus."  Andreas  Capellanus wrote h i s Tractatus de Amore about l l S O . His main contention was that a man, having educated himself, should maintain, reputation.  and i f possible, augment h i s personal  He should d i l i g e n t l y seek the love of some lady,  who was e n t i t l e d to his complete submission.  This r e l a t i o n -  ship was not unlike that of vassal t o overlord.  In short,  the lady (domina) was treated l i k e a sovereign.  There was  always something strangely paradoxical, however, about t h i s cult of love which "exacted at one and the same time, adultery and chastity, d u p l i c i t y and f a i t h f u l n e s s , s e l f indulgence  and a u s t e r i t y , suffering and delight."'*'  Marie, i n her L a i s , sometimes discusses problems of courtly love which she, no doubt, heard debated i n the m i l i e u to which she belonged. question i s mooted:  For example, i n Guigemar. the following  Should a lover have t o wait long f o r  the love he requests?  In Equitan. the question i s a s k e d —  Can a man of the highest lineage love a woman of less rank? In E l i d u c . the problem i s : Can a man love two women at one and the same time?  Marie also makes use i n her L a i s . of  some of the chief tenets of the Provencal theory of "l'amour 3  courtois."  In Lanval. f o r example, the lover has t o observe  the greatest d i s c r e t i o n . In Equitan. the King's mistress  York:  Morton M. Hunt, The Natural History of Love (New Grove Press Inc., 1 9 5 9 ) , p. 1 3 1 .  - 198  -  assumes the sovereign role of woman.  Thus, the poetess was  not unacquainted with the casuistry of courtly love. Marie de France, however, although prepared to accept the knightly code of morals, did not approve of "l'amour courtois."  This i s c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e d i n the Lais of  Equitan and C h a i t i v e l .  In Equitan. the King's lechery  adultery form part of his "courtesie" and,  and  i n Chaitivel.  i n the same way,  the lady's egoism and pride form part of  her "courtesie."  Marie de France launches a devastating  attack against "1'amour courtois" i n these two l a y s . paradoxical cult of love, which was  contrary to the C h r i s t i a n  ethic, probably repelled Marie de France.  Her method of  attack i n C h a i t i v e l i s the use of irony and humour. use of irony to attack "1'amour courtois" was t r i b u t e to i t s power.  C.S.  Lewis  1  This  Yet  her  an unwilling  has suggested that between  the world of "1'amour courtois" and that of r e l i g i o n , the r i f t was  irremediable and that Andreas Capellanus,  repeatedly recognized t h i s f a c t .  himself,  Courtly love can, of course,  fuse with r e l i g i o n , as i t does i n Dante, but when t h i s does not occur, courtly love can "never under the shadow of i t s tremendous r i v a l , be more than a temporary truancy." same author also states:  The  "There i s , f o r Andreas, i n a cool  hour, no doubt as to which of the two worlds i s the r e a l and i n t h i s he i s t y p i c a l of the Middle Ages."  one  For Marie  Clive Staples Lewis, The Allegory of Love: i n Medieval T r a d i t i o n (Oxford: 1936), p. 42.  A Study  - 199 de France there was also no doubt as to which of the two worlds was the r e a l one. In Chapter I of t h i s t h e s i s , i t was suggested that the works of Marie de France were not unlike a t r i p t y c h — i . e . a set of three panels with pictures, designs, or carvings, hinged so that the two side panels may be folded over the central one. Such triptyches are used as a l t a r pieces ad maiorem gloriam Dei.  I t might be useful, there-  fore, to discover how the panels are hinged.  In other  words, i t might be advisable now to determine what Marie de France's three works have i n common. F i r s t l y , i t would seem that the poetess was to some extent stimulated by the hope of eternal rewards, l i k e the copyists i n the monastic s c r i p t o r i a , when she wrote a l l three works, i . e . her motives, as f a r as the writer can judge were, to some extent, the same. Secondly, Marie's audience f o r a l l three productions was the aristocracy or l a y nobles.  She addressed a l l her  works to the same audience. Thirdly, the message which she attempted to convey to that audience was, broadly speaking, the same on a l l three occasions.  It amounted to an exhortation t o avoid  s i n i n t h i s world and to seek salvation i n the next.  The  Lais and the Fables, however, while conveying t h i s message, proved t o be a r t i s t i c entertainment of the highest order. Fourthly, Marie de France's three works show an interest i n theology and r e l i g i o n .  The Espurgatoire  - 200 obviously reveals such an i n t e r e s t .  In Marie's Isopet there  are f i v e r e l i g i o u s or quasi-religious fables.  Jauss has  shown that the animal fables have a feudal ethic, but that another group of fables centres round the concept of a "nature," which i s d i v i n e l y ordained.  Marie's deep moral  concern can be f e l t by the reader of the Fables. ethic i s r e l i g i o u s .  The medieval  In the Lais, the theme of s i n , which  appears i n seven of Marie de France's twelve l a i s i s , of course, a r e l i g i o u s theme.  Lines 1-27 of the Prologue to  the Lais, and l i n e s 1-10 of the Prologue t o the Fables contribute considerably to the revelation of Marie's interest i n theology and r e l i g i o n . F i f t h l y , the theme of s a i n t l i n e s s appears i n two of the three works of Marie de France—the Espurgatoire and the Lais (Eliduc and Fresne).  The s p i r i t u a l quest of the  Espurgatoire re-appears i n Eliduc and, to some extent, i n Guigemar. It would seem then that Marie's works possess much i n common and that the three panels of the t r i p t y c h are f i t t i n g l y hinged.  The Lais are e n t i t l e d to the position of  the central panel, i n view of their greater complexity. In other words, the Lais were written with consummate artistry.  The Fables and the Espurgatoire are the two side  panels, which may be folded over the central one. This t r i p t y c h would c e r t a i n l y be used as an altar-piece ad maiorem gloriam Dei. Marie de France's thinking was t y p i c a l l y medieval.  - 201 Her conclusions were almost a l l orthodox. desire to quarrel with the fundamental  She had no  ideas of her age.  She accepted authority and the h i e r a r c h i c a l structure of society i n which she l i v e d .  Prayer, resignation and hard  work were among the chief tenets of her creed. c e r t a i n l y no revolutionary.  She was  She disapproved strongly of  those who sought to r i s e to a position f o r which they were not intended.  She probably belonged to the same class as  the audience f o r whom she wrote her books.  Between Marie's  medieval thinking and that of the humanist, who was l a t e r to put mankind on a pedestal of unsurpassed respect, the gulf was indeed unbridgeable.  She might pursue her studies  and write the most charming love-stories, yet believe at one and the same time i n the worthlessness of whatever did not lead to an understanding of the divine truths.  It may be  that one should bear t h i s i n mind, while reading Goethe's interesting comment on her L a i s .  1  "Ebenso werden die Gedichte  Mariens von Frankreich durch den Duft der Jahre, der sich zwischen uns und ihre Personlichkeit hineinzieht,  anmutiger  und l i e b e r . " Marie's orthodoxy, however, did not mean that she could remain complacent  about i n j u r i e s or wrongs, i n f l i c t e d  upon the weak or the poor, and i n the Fables she c r i t i c i z e s  „ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Annalen (1820), Samtliche Werke. Jubilaums-Ausgabe, p. 345.  - 202 severely those among the privileged, who are unjust and unprincipled.  Nor does Marie's orthodoxy mean that she  remains complacent about the position of " l a mal-marie'e." Indeed, Marie disapproves strongly of husbands who are jealous, old, tyrants, and whose treatment of t h e i r wives i s cruel and unjust.  She i s even prepared, on occasion,  to condone adultery.  Where a husband i s kind and considerate  to his wife, however, and the wife i s u n f a i t h f u l , the sympathy of the poetess goes to the husband.  The passages denoting  lack of complacency i n the Fables reveal c l e a r l y that, although Marie approved of authority, she was not prepared to t o l e r a t e i t s abuse.  Marie, then, while conforming i n  fundamental matters, does not hesitate to express her own ideas on s p e c i f i c problems.  Marie's attitude towards the  problem of " l a mal-mariee," on the other hand, would seem to suggest that her views on the r o l e of women i n the Twelfth Century were not quite orthodox.  It would be tempting to  believe that t h i s independence of thought meant that f a i t h did not, after a l l , wholly absorb the interest of men. Did not secular preoccupations, l i t e r a r y and philosophical, play an important role i n t h i s culture s t i l l mainly r e l i g i o u s ? On the other hand, new developments  i n r e l i g i o n i t s e l f had  also appeared by the middle of the Twelfth Century. Southern  1  r e f e r r i n g to the period immediately before  Southern, op. c i t . . p. 93.  R.S. 1215,  - 203 writes:  "The same generation which l a i d bare the human  basis of secular government was also d i s c l o s i n g a new intensity of s p i r i t u a l l i f e i n the study of the i n d i v i d u a l soul." to  After a l l , St. Bernard, who had brought h i s generation  consider above a l l else the human aspects of Christ had  exhorted man to apply his own powers to the problems of religion.  The attempt had been made to make of r e l i g i o n a  more personal matter.  Could i t be then that Marie had under-  gone some such r e l i g i o u s influence?  Or had she undergone  r e l i g i o u s and secular influences? The writer c e r t a i n l y does not claim to know the answer to these problems, but i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to speculate. What the writer does know i s that Marie de France was interested i n the C h r i s t i a n i d e a l of conduct, with i t s assumption, on the one hand, of human imperfection, and on the  other, of i n f i n i t e p e r f e c t i b i l i t y . The reader of Marie de France's works must surely  be g r a t e f u l that the f i r s t French Poetess should remind him i n such d e l i g h t f u l l y entertaining fashion that most men w i l l , no doubt, continue to pursue t h e i r immediate  aims, and further  t h e i r own s e l f i s h i n t e r e s t s ; nevertheless, salvation can be attained by weighing what may be temporary values against enduring ones, and by choosing wisely.  -  204 -  APPENDIX A  n  G. Paris and J u l i a n Harris believe that the  r e l a t i v e Order of Lais, Fables, and Espurgatoire, i n date of composition was F, L, E;  M a l l . Gustave Cohen,  and T.A. Jenkins have placed them E, F, L;  Warnke,  Suchier, and Voretzsch arrange them L, F, E, and I agree with t h i s .  Ezio Levi i s alone i n the arrangement L, E, F . (U.T. Holmes, History of Old French L i t e r a t u r e , p. 183.)  n  - 205 -  APPENDIX B Warnke, Fables VI  I c i chastie l e s plusurs k i sur els unt l e s mais seignurs, que pas nes deivent e s f o r c i e r n a plus f o r t d'els acumpaignier par l u r sens ne par l u r aveir, mes desturber a l u r poeir. Cum plus esforce, pis l u r f e t ; tuz jurs l u r est en mai aguet. T  VII  XVIII  XX  XXIII  A l t r e s i est del mai seignur: se povres huem l i f e t honur e puis demant sun gueredun, j a n'en avra se mai gre nun; pur ceo q u ' i l s e i t en sa b a i l l i e , mercier l e deit de sa v i e . I s s i avient, plusur l e funt des bons seignurs, quant i l l e s unt tuzjurs l e s vuelent defuler ne l u r sevent honur guarder; s ' i l nes t i e n t alkes en d e s t r e i t , ne funt pur l u i ne t o r t ne d r e i t . A t e l se pernent, k i s d e s t r u i t ; de l u r aveir meine sun b r u i t : l o r s regretent l u r bon seignur, qui i l f i r e n t l a deshonur. Par essample nus mustre c i : chescuns frans huem face a l t r e s i I Se nuls l i vuelt doner l u i e r ne par pramesse losengier que sun seignur deie tra'ir, nel v u e i l l e mie cunsentir; atendre en deit t e l gueredun, cume l i chiens f i s t del l a r r u n . A l t r e s i est del t r a i t u r k i meseire vers sun seignur, a qui i l ^ d e i t honur porter e l e i a l t e e f e i guarder. Se s i s s i r e a de l u i mestier e i l l e veie a f e b l e i e r , a sun busuin l i vuelt f a i l l i r , od l e s a l t r e s se vuelt t e n i r ; se s i s s i r e vient a l desus, ne puet l a i s s i e r sun malvais us, dune v o l d r e i t a l u i returner: de tuttes parz vuelt meserrer.  -  206 -  Par tut en est a l dei mustrez e a v i l l i e z e vergundez; s'onur en pert e sun aveir, e repruvier en unt s i h e i r ; a tuzjurs en est s i huniz, cume f u l a chalve suriz k i ne deit mes par jur voler, ne i l ne deit en curt parler. XXVII  XXIX  Cest essample puet hum veeir, chescuns frans huem l e deit saveir: nuls ne puet mie aveir honur, k i hunte f e t a sun seignur, ne l i s i r e tut ensement, pur q u ' i l v u e i l l e hunir sa gent; se l i uns a l ' a l t r e est f a i l l i z , ambur en ierent mai b a i l l i z . Pur ceo mustre l i sages bien qu'um ne delist pur nule r i e n felun hume f a i r e seignur ne t r a i r e l e a nule honur: ja ne guard era l e i a l t e ' plus a 1'estrange qu'al prive; s i se demeine vers sa gent, cum f i s t l i lous del sairement.  XXXVI  De curt a r e i est ensement: t e l s i entre legierement, mielz l i vendreit en sus ester pur l e s nuveles esculter.  XLVI  Par cest essample mustre i c i qu'um ne deit pas f a i r e seignur de malvais hume jangleur, u i l n'a se parole nun. Tels se nobleie par tengun e vuelt manacier e parler, k i mult p e t i t f e t a duter.  LVI  Pur ceo ne deit princes ne r e i s ses cumandemenz ne ses l e i s a coveitus metre en b a i l l i e ; kar sa dreiture en est perie.  - 207 -  APPENDIX C  Le travers del bois est alez Un vert chemin k i l'ad menez Fors de l a launde, en l a plaigne; V i t l a f a l e i s e et l a muntaigne; D une ewe ke desuz cureit Braz f u de mer, hafne i a v e i t . T  (J. Lods, 'JNew Interpretation Guigemar, v. 145-150, Romania LXXVII, 78-85, 494-6.)  - 208 -  APPENDIX D  Miss Hatcher, explaining Marie's procedure of choosing a s p e c i f i c concrete object as the centre of her l a i s , which s h a l l develop within the poem new v a r i e t i e s of symbolic  l o g i c , claims that the magic potion represents  a means and a necessary means to the f u l f i l m e n t of the lovers* desire; as the boy reaches the top of the mountain without  i t s a i d , i t seems to become superfluous; then, i n  the end, sprinkled upon the grass, i t symbolizes  love*s  f r u s t r a t i o n — i t s v i r t u e serving, f i n a l l y , to feed "meinte bone herbe," the memorial to the dead l o v e r s .  (A.G. Hatcher i n Romania, V o l . 71, 1950, p. 339)  -  2  0  9 -  APPENDIX E Warnke, Chievrefueil (a) l i n e s 61-78 (b) l i n e s 107-113 (a)  Ceo f u l a sume de l'^escrit q u ' i l l i aveit mande e d i t , que lunges ot i l e c este e atendu e surjurne' pur espieV e pur saveir coment i l l a peust veeir kar ne poeit vivre senz l i . D'els dous f u i l tut a l t r e s i cume del c h i e v r e f u e i l e s t e i t k i a l a coldre se perneit: quant i l s ' i est l a c i e z e p r i s e tut entur l e fust s'est mis, ensemble poeent bien durer; mes k i puis l e s vuelt desevrer, l a coldre muert hastivement e l i chievrefueilz ensement. 'Bele amie, s i est de nus: ne vus senz mei ne jeo senz vusI  (b)  Pur l a j o i e q u ' i l ot eiie de s'amie q u ' i l ot veife e pur ceo q u ' i l aveit e s c r i t , s i cum l a relne l ' o t d i t , pur l e s paroles remembrer, Tristram k i bien saveit harper, en aveit f e t un nuvel l a i .  - 210  -  APPENDIX F A i l r e d of Rievaulx's D e f i n i t i o n of Sensual Love  Verum amicitiae c a r n a l i s exordium ab affectione procedit, quae i n s t a r meretricis d i v a r i c a t pedes suos omni transeunti, sequens aures et oculos suos per v a r i a f o r n i cantes; per quorum aditus usque ad ipsum mentem pulchrorum corporum v e l rerum voluptuosarum inferuntur imagines; quibus ad l i b i t u m f r u i , putat esse beatum; sed sine socio f r u i , minus aestimat esse jucundum.  Tunc motu, nutu, verbis,  obsequiis, animus ab anime captivatur, et accenditur unus ab a l t e r o , et conflantur i n unum: m i s e r a b i l i , quidquid  ut i n i t o foedere  s c e l e r i s quidquid  s a c r i l e g i i est,  a l t e r agat et patiatur pro a l t e r o ; nihilque hac a m i c i t i a dulcius arbitrantur, n i h i l judicant j u s t i u s ; idem v e l l e , et idem n o l l e , s i b i existimantes  amicitiae legibus  imperari.  (Migne - Patrologia Latina, Vol. C X C V , c o l . 665)  - 211 -  APPENDIX G  Warnke, Prologue (lines 1-27)  Qui Deus a dune escience e de parler bone eloquence, ne s'en deit t a i s i r ne celer, ainz se deit voluntiers mustrer. Quan uns granz biens est mult o i z , dune a primes est i l f l u r i z , e quant loez est de plusurs, dune a espandues ses f l u r s . 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