'Iclosid art with stoon': Charles of Orleans' Imprisonment Poetics.
Lyric poetry which is about prison--or which is understood to have been composed during a time of captivity--tends to present as a window on an intensely concentrated subjective experience. The style is well suited to the genre: the strictures of 'fixed forms' or formes fixes formally enclose the lyric 'I' within the text. Like much, if not all, prison writing, however, medieval prison poetry is also highly intertextual--a collective or shared reflection on the captive subject and on the spiritual and/or philosophical conditions of captivity. Laurent De Looze describes the 'allegorized prison as a self-conscious return [...] to literature'. (5) De Looze refers here specifically to the Roman de la Rose, but the example illustrates the broad contextual frame which shapes how imprisonment, bondage, and restraint are represented in Anglo-French literary discourse during the later medieval period. In the various references to imprisonment and captivity that appear throughout both his French and English lyrics, Charles evokes the familiar, cliched condition of the lyric poet/lover who suffers in or because of love's bonds, as well as that of the Boethian prisoner, whose individual suffering is also a form of respite. In Charles's English poetic narrative in particular, as in Boethius's poem, the speaker persistently describes himself as an unwilling subject of Fortune--emphatically enough that the modern editor of the poems in Harley MS 682, Mary-Jo Arn, called the collection 'Fortunes Stabilnes', a phrase taken from the speaker's lament on the traditionally inconstant Fortune's consistency, so far as the poet's own life was concerned: 'Though holdist me in myn aduersite, | So that y may biwayle thi stabilnes' (ll. 4686-87). Wittily, and with an ironic self-reflection, Charles's English work takes up the Boethian metaphor of life as a state of imprisonment in which Fortune 'holds' the human subject.
As in Charles's own experience, in the Boethian tradition prison is both literal and metaphorical. The prisoner is subjected simultaneously to prison and to Fortune, while the condition of imprisonment is associated as closely with the spiritual alleviation of suffering--consolation--as with physical and emotional experience of suffering itself. (6) Of course, as a member of the French royal family and heir to its throne, Charles was never held in irons and forced into a dungeon, and yet the work he produced during his time in England is often described as prison poetry primarily because of the conditions of Charles's authorship, rather than the specific ways in which the poet deals with the prison metaphor in his writing. (7) In this article I seek to explore the variety of ways in which Charles constructs himself and the various speakers that appear in both his French and English lyrics as poet-prisoners --I use the plural deliberately because there is more than one poet-prisoner to be found in Charles's writing. Moreover, the various ways in which the poet, figurative or real, might be 'imprisoned'--whether literally, by writing in fixed forms, or figuratively by using metaphors of enclosure--frequently repeat, overlap and contradict each other as they recur throughout his oeuvre. It has long been understood that Boethius's Consolation is vital to Charles's representation of a poetic self. I do not wish to compare his treatment of prison with that of Boethius's explicitly here, but rather, to use Charles's Boethianism as a starting point to explore further his poetic interpretation of prison as a site of both suffering and comfort. The walls of the prison might be despised, but they may also be desired--as in Charles's case--as a condition of authorship.
It is worth observing that contemporary readers of Charles's poetry, like modern ones, may have been especially interested in understanding the circumstances of its production as an interpretative frame. A fifteenth-century manuscript copy of Charles's French poetry, Paris BnF MS 19139, emphasizes that the duke composed the work during the time of his imprisonment in England:
Cy co[m]mence le Livre que Mo[n]sr Charles deuc d'Orleans a faict Estant Prisonnier en Angleterre (fol. [1.sup.r]) (8)
There is roughly contemporary evidence in England of this paratextual practice of associating the authorship of lyric verses about love with actual imprisonment. In Trinity College Cambridge MS R. 3. 20, notes in both French and English record the duke of Suffolk's authorship of certain roundels during, and after, the time of his imprisonment in France:
Loo here begynnethe a Rondell made by lord of Suffolk \wyllyam/ whylest he was prysonnier in ffraunce (fol. [32.sup.v]) Icy commence un balade que fist Monseigneur le Conte \wiliam de la poole/ de Suffolk quant il estoit prysonier en frraunce (fol. [35.sup.v]) (9)
In both manuscripts, the roundels in question are in fact by Alain Chartier, but what these contextualizing headnotes suggest is that the idea of incarceration was understood on both sides of the English Channel in the aftermath of the Hundred Years War as an affective frame from within which to understand lyric composition. (10) Julia Boffey remarks that the evocation of imprisonment in such notes seems 'to intensify the impact of poems which deal with the constraints applied by a hard-hearted lady to her desperate lover.' (11) These prison paratexts, in other words, develop the emotional intensity of the poetic theme: the suffering of the poet in love, exiled or otherwise absent from his beloved. At the same time, the fact of imprisonment justifies the act of lyric composition without patronage as more than idleness, but as an appropriately aristocratic way to pass time. The prospect of readerly pleasure and perhaps a burgeoning sense of national pride in reading poetry written by an imprisoned aristocrat is made implicit in such notes, which suggest that the reader imagine the speaker's suffering as a manifestation of that of the imprisoned author.
Modern critics have often observed that although Charles alludes to his historical incarceration in political as well as metaphorical terms in several French works, in his English writing the idea of prison is entirely abstracted. (12) Comparing Charles's English poems with several French political poems which treat the theme of imprisonment in BnF MS 25458, for example, Anne E. B. Coldiron argues that where the poet alludes overtly to his English incarceration in French, the corresponding 'English poems disguise all references to prison as prisoner-of-love metaphors'. (13) The abstraction of prison and imprisonment in Charles's English writing has fascinated his critics at least since the nineteenth century and well into the twenty-first; perhaps more than any other image in Charles's body of work. (14) A. C. Spearing, in his landmark essay on subjectivity in Charles's writing, notes that the poet often chose to write 'specifically as a prisoner'. Though he cautions that it is 'desirable to separate the poetry from the biography as far as possible', he concedes that 'it is hard to make the separation complete'. (15) I would suggest that this conflation of authorial and lyric identities was an entirely deliberate strategy on Charles's part: the act of writing 'lijk a prisonere' draws Charles's own composition directly into the classical as well as the medieval literary tradition of prison poetry. Robert Epstein explores how that tradition has breadth as well as historical depth in the fifteenth century, comparing Charles's representations of imprisonment with that of James I in the Kingis Quair, and with Thomas Hoccleves poetry of exile and isolation. (16) Joanna Summers also acknowledges the significance of Boethius's influence on fifteenth-century English prison writing on Charles, including her analysis of his English lyrics alongside readings of Thomas Usk's Testament of Love, George Ashby's A Prisoner's Reflections, the Testimony of William Thorpe and the Trial of Richard Wyche as well as The Kingis Quair. (17)
The studies listed above tend, by and large, to be more interested in representations of imprisonment in Charles's English than in his French. Alice Planche, in her voluminous 1975 study of Charles's French poetics, makes the point that for Charles, 'la hantise de la prison est nee dune experience preparee et eclairee par un fait de culture'. (18) I understand her to mean that for Charles the metaphor of imprisonment is shaped by his experience of a pre-existing--and co-existing--tradition of prison literature, as much as by his lived experience of captivity. Planche extends this idea by exploring the poet's representation of mental containment--'la vie interieure'--as a psychological manifestation of the imprisonment motif. (19) Karen Newman shifts the focus of Planche's perspective on interiority in the French poetry by pointing out its frequently spiritual frame, and drawing attention to the experiential contexts in which the poet might have felt compelled to investigate spiritualism further in his writing: (20) Newman recalls the number of religious works in Charles's personal library and the poet's close association with the Franciscan Greyfriars monastery in London. (21)
Focusing on the changing figurations of the prison across Charles's English and French poetry, both during and after the period of his actual imprisonment, allows for a broader and deeper exploration of the literary conditions of enclosure in fifteenth-century poetry and its development across language and form. The poet figures confinement variously as both an involuntary and a voluntary state, in which the incarcerated may be unjustly bound, or to which he might submit willingly, and even honourably, by oath. Figurations of incarceration across Charles's corpus may appear to be highly unstable--Spearing observes that the images of imprisonment in Charles's English lyrics 'do not add up to a consistent fiction'. (22) The same is true of the French poems.Yet the apparent inconsistency of Charles's literary figurations of imprisonment is precisely what makes them worth closer attention. The images of enclosure that accumulate throughout Charles's work represent, at different times and with varying degrees of intensity, the speaker's defiance of and/or his desire for (en)closed forms. The poet himself has multiple traditions at his disposal, classical as well as contemporary, spiritual and religious as well as secular, drawn from his familiarity with French, Latin, and English works. Recent studies of Anglo-French lyric exchange have highlighted a trade in literary forms, motifs and references as vital to poetic innovation and experimentation on both sides of the Channel during the Hundred Years War. (23) In the same way that reading the work of French and English poets during the later medieval period side-by-side enriches our understanding of the shared literary culture in which they worked, reading Charles's French and English lyrics together suggests the ways in which the poet conducted his own explorations of the limits of language and form during the fifteenth century.
If the image of enclosure as it appears in Charles's lyric corpus has diachronic as well as synchronic origins in the poet's engagement with Boethian prison writing, then we would do well to consider briefly the ways in which Boethianism itself allowed for formal experimentation in late medieval England. As Eleanor Johnson has shown, Boethius's Consolation is a 'work of literary theory-in-practice' which highlights the transformative function of the mixed form: the lessons offered by prose are hard and rational, while those provided by poetry are sensual and emotional. (24) The 'musical meters of the Consolation are designed', Johnson writes, 'via the accretion of analogies, to produce a feeling of likeness in Boethius himself'. (25) This 'feeling of likeness' is an empathy for others--other people and creatures in God's universe--which is reflected in the formal harmony of poetic sound, meter, and rhythm. Charles's exploration of imprisonment in poetic form may be productively interpreted in both fifteenth- and twenty-first century contexts from within the Boethian tradition--of course, I am not the first to suggest that we do so, as the ample literature on Charles as a fifteenth-century 'prison poet' mentioned above suggests.Yet I think it is worth observing that Charles borrows more from Boethian discourse than the metaphor of life as a prison alone. Like other poets from the late medieval period, Charles draws on the potential of Boethianism for experimentation with both analogy and form. (26) In Charles's English lyrics, the Boethian 'feeling of likeness' may be best summed up in the idea of the speaker's feeling metaphorically 'lijk a prisonere'--a comparison which unites him simultaneously with fellow sufferers of Fortune and with classical Boethian tradition. The idea of prison itself, woven in and out of numerous lyrics, creates its own kind of rhythm --a rhythm which relates closely to the formal architectural features of the formes fixes and that encourages us to see the ways that motifs relate to these aspects of poetry.
In a number of Charles's French lyrics, especially those written during the time he held court at Blois in the mid-century, the speaker's reconciliation with the prison takes on a new metaphorical form: a grudging acceptance of the frailty and ultimate failure of the 'prison' of the ageing body. In these poems, the speaker is 'like a prisoner' because he has been imprisoned by Soussy ('Care'), the 'Jaulier des prisons de Pensee' ('Jailer of the prisoners of thought', R405), and later by Vieillesse ('Old Age') herself, who holds the speaker--himself an 'old dog'--imprisoned in a locked room (R415, ll. 2, 8-12). After his return to France from England, Charles seems to have preferred the roundel to the ballade form, apparently desiring to bring his experimentations with lyric in his native French into a still more formally restricted space. As Newman observes, 'there is no discursive development in the rondeau as there is in the ballad: the idea is enclosed within the circular form itself and in in some sense an allegory of contemplation'. (27) For Newman, Charles's late preoccupation with the roundel is a formal demonstration of the speaker's withdrawal into his own self. (28) But it is also worth observing that this is a withdrawal into the body as much as the mind: 'Ung viellart peult peu de chose!' (French R415, l. 6), (29) the speaker explains. In the French and English lyrics alike, whether the primary metaphor is that of the body imprisoned, or the body as prison, it develops in complexity as the figurative forms of the prison accrue. There is, finally, a submission to the prison as space of confinement--to lyric form itself, in other words--as a means of effectively containing the speaker's prisoner-like emotional state.
Roughly the first four thousand lines of the poems in British Library Harley MS 682 exist also in French, while the missing first quire (about 400 lines), which probably contained an allegorical account of the speaker's early youth and initial meeting with the God of Love, exists only in French.Towards the end of the French work, and about three quarters of the way through the English poem, the speaker begs to be released from Cupid's service, and retires to the Castle of 'No Care' (in French, Nonchaloir). No Care is wittily idealized as a retreat from the sufferings of Love--a conveniently enclosed and at least notionally secluded space where the speaker is charged with writing and presenting a series of roundels on various, increasingly romantic, themes at a 'Iewbile' feast (l. 3104, ll. 3138-4138). The French work ends here, but the English continues with a dream vision telling of a request from the speaker's friend that he write a 'Roundell or balade' (l. 4654) lamenting 'fortunes stabilnes' (l. 4660). The speaker finishes composing his poem while overlooking the sea--'Forth bi my silf y went me alone' (l. 4666)--and promptly falls asleep, when a vision comes to him of Venus. After initially mistaking the goddess for his dead beloved, the speaker describes to her his grief, plaintively projecting his absent lady into a variety of imagined domestic spaces: 'In suche a towre also y sigh hir last' (l. 4841), 'in that bed the lijf eek from hir past' (l. 4843). In the lady's absence, only the empty walls of his bedchamber remain for him to embrace: 'stede of hit [sc. her] the wallis bare y kis' (l. 4852). In this tragi-comic erotics of isolation and enclosure, the speaker conjures the metaphorical prisoner of love, whose prison remains --and is symbolically desired as a proxy for the lover--long after she is permanently removed from him in death.
Charles's depictions of enclosure often emphasise the representational, imaginative and playful potential of poetic discourse. Within his verse in general, but perhaps especially in the formal confines of the formes fixes to which he is drawn most often--the ballade and the roundel--the speaker's use of metaphors of enclosure urges the reader and critic alike away from the realm of the poet's experience, and into that of poetic reverie and innovation. Interestingly, while motifs of imprisonment and capture appear several times in Charles's French roundels and were clearly of interest to other poets in his circle at Blois, (30) the poet makes fewer references to imprisonment in the roundels he composed in English. The majority of Charles's references to imprisonment in English--which include several to imprisoning either the speaker's or the lady's eyes (31)--are found in the ballades both immediately before the speaker arrives at the Castle of No Care and after he leaves it. It is as if the poet's voluntary enclosure frees him from the metaphor of enclosure itself in the series of roundels on love which he composes to celebrate his retirement. Arn posits of Charles's English lyrics that '[i]f the ballades represent a sublimation of reality, the roundels represent a sublimation, not of experience, but of unfocused and confused longings'. (32)
In one of the earliest and most frequently quoted ballades from Charles's corpus imprisonment is represented as a condition--as well as a situation --of poetic composition which is especially suited to the composition of ballades in particular:
To balade now y haue a fayre leysere All other sport is me biraught as now Martir am y for loue and prisonere; Allas, allas, and is this not ynow? (English B40, ll. 1440-43)
The sublimation of reality hinted at in this envoy has long attracted critical attention, and yet in both the English and French versions, Charles carefully detaches the idea of imprisonment from any figurative anchor except that of the lyric self:
De ballader j'ay beau loisir Autres deduis me sont cassez. Prisonnier suis, d'Amour martir. Helas! et n'est ce pas assez? (French B40, ll. 31-34) (33)
In both versions, a degree of contextual ambiguity around the speaker's status as a prisoner is carefully maintained. As elsewhere in his corpus, the poet calls variously on literary, philosophical and spiritual conceptions of imprisonment, and conflates practical with figurative associations of captivity and authorship --the notion that the prisoner has 'loisir' or 'leysere' to write. But it is on the idea of formal composition that the prerogative of the metaphorical prison-poet rests. The verb ballader (to compose ballades) is well attested in late medieval French, in the works of Machaut and Deschamps on the Art Dictier especially, but the Middle English Dictionary includes only this reference to the verb 'to baladen' in Middle English. (34) That Charles himself may have developed this neologism from his native French would seem to suggest the poet's attempt to anchor the courtly metaphor of the prisoner-of-love to the Boethian metaphor of imprisonment-as-authorship; perhaps even that he sought to make this combination uniquely his own in the English ballade form. The ballade's continual return to an established refrain--here, the rhetorical 'Alas, alas! and is this not ynough?' (l. 1419) / 'Helas! et n'est ce pas asses?'(l. 10)--highlights a speaker caught within his own self-reflection, for whom the task of making ballades is inevitable and unending.
Charles's various allusions to the spiritual aspects of imprisonment have not often attracted critical attention except in so far as they fit loosely into the general representation of enclosure or containment in his writing. The idea of the prisoner's martyrdom--dying for love--recurs throughout the lyrics in both languages. Suffering is figured explicitly as a form of martyrdom in English Ballade 27 / French Ballade 25, which has the refrain 'As in the Prison of Grevous Displesaunce' (B27, l. 1012) / 'En la prison de Desplaisance' (B25, l. 9). In both versions, it is the speaker's heart, rather than the speaker himself, that is involuntarily held in prison by co-conspirators Thought and Woe:
For in desert they putt haue his [sc. the heart's] Plesere, And Ioye he holt of them but in patise [pasture] Saue Comfort cometh to se him in a gere And makith him a maner of promysse Them to banysshe. Lo in this maner wise Hope hath him oft achasid Disperaunce Which kepith Ioy fro me as a straungere, That causith this: my hertis rage martere As in the Prison of Grevous Displesaunce. (English B27, ll. 1013-21) En desert on mis son plaisir Et joye tenue en pastis, Mais Confort lui a sans faillir De nouvel loyaument promis Qu'ilz seront deffais et bannis. De ce se fait fort Esperence Et plus avant que n'ose dire. C'est ce qui estaint son mar tire En la prison de Desplaisance. (French B25, ll. 10-18) (35)
The heart's forced separation from its own Pleasure and the speaker's Joy culminate at the end of the stanza in its martyrdom: 'my hertis rage martere' / 'son martire'. But the possibility of reprieve in the present state is suggested by the appearance of Comfort earlier in this stanza, who 'makith him [sc. the heart] a maner of promysse' / 'De nouvel loyaument promis' to banish Thought and Woe in turn. Comfort renews the heart's Hope in the face of martyrdom, recalling the Boethian theme of spiritual consolation in prison.
The speaker's sense of captivity as a form of physical restraint--of putting ('they putt haue' / 'ont mis'), holding ('he holt of them' / 'tenue'), and keeping something from someone ('kepith Ioy fro me as a straungere')--makes his own relative isolation the primary cause of his suffering. Absence itself appears as a personification, allied with Thought and Woe, who holds the speaker back from his lady in bondage: 'Absence thus me holt & from yow tiise [ties]' (l. 1031). In the French, absence is fully abstracted: 'Pource que veoir ne vous puis' ['Because I cannot see you'] (l. 28). In an earlier ballade in the English book, Absence holds the speaker's Pleasure 'vndir kay':
In company of Woo and Gret Distres I lyue, and loke for comfort day bi day Of Plesere, which Absence holt vndir kay (English B11, ll. 521-23)
It may be tempting to speculate as to why these metaphorical allusions to physical bondage and restraint are not present in the equivalent French ballades (French B25; French B11), in which the speaker laments his absence from the lady in much vaguer terms--there she is simply absent from the poem itself, in the same way that she is absent from the speaker's view. The figuration of Absence as a jailer in English Ballade 27 marks points of connection between the themes of absence and imprisonment across Charles's corpus, developing the emotional complexity of the lyric subject as part of his status as exile.
Both the English and French versions of Ballade 11 begin the speaker's articulation of a sense of romantic exile: 'This fer from yow am y, lady mastres' (B11, l. 519) / 'Loingtain de vous, ma tresbelle maistresse' (B11, l. 11). As in English Ballade 27 and French Ballade 25, in which the speaker's heart has been symbolically imprisoned and exiled by Thought and Woe, an image which appears in both versions of Ballade 11 is that of the martyr's cell. In these poems, absence from the lady--but also from human life itself--is figured as a form of spiritual punishment or penance. (36) The speaker describes how jealous lovers delight in his suffering: '--And yet they [sc. the jealous] spie how y lyue in penaunce' (l. 536) / 'quant je suy en greveuse penance' (l. 18). Here, penance is as a state in which the speaker exists, with the promise of some form of spiritual reform. The speaker in English Ballade 43 (no French equivalent) describes how his heart has left him to become a hermit, living in seclusion in the forest, in what the poet calls the 'hermytage of Thoughtfull Fantase' (English B43, l. 1512). This poem is one of those identified by Arn as an example of the speaker's 'divided consciousness'--his fragmentation and absence from a cohesive sense of himself. The speaker is metaphorically imprisoned by his heart's stubbornness, and exists, as Arn suggests, 'indeed in a kind of prison, real to the lover despite its lack of physical walls'. (37) The heart's retreat to the woods suggests the ways in which a state of exile might be self-imposed:
My poore hert bicomen is hermyte In hermytage of Thoughtfull Fantase. For false Fortune, so full of gret dispite, That many yere hath hatid him and me, Hath newe allyed hir (this may y se), To his gret hurt, with Payne and Heuynes, And hath him banysshid out of all gladnes, That where to dwelle nath he o bidyng place Saue in the carfull wode in payne to ly, Where he contentith bide his lyvis space, And yet y say him how it is foly. (English B43, ll. 1511-21)
As Arn observes, the speaker plays the Boethian role of Lady Philosophy (or Reason) in this ballade, pointing out the heart's folly. (38) And yet what emerges most strongly in these lines is not so much a sense of the heart's madness in choosing to dwell in the 'carfull [sorrowful] wode' but of its contentment to abide there--'Where he contentith bide his lyvis space'--and utter acceptance of the terms of exile. By the end of the poem, the speaker resolves to give up on the heart ('as for me, y cast to leue him quyt', l. 1533), seeing the heart's commitment to its condition. Having 'made a feithfull trewe promys | Forto renounce the ioy and gret ricches' (ll. 1538-39), the heart binds itself into the Habit of Sorrow--'The Abite of Discomfort on him lace' (l. 1542)--the new uniform an outward marker of its submission to the life as a spiritual recluse.
As an extension of the prisoner's cell, the idea of living in penance or seclusion is further developed in both Charles's French and English lyrics as a form of quasi-spiritual or religious devotion. The Castle of No Care or Nonchaloir is at times imagined as a form of almost monastic sequestration in which the speaker has retired to a community where he is able to find the leisure and solitude necessary in order to contemplate and to write. In the course of his vision of Venus, he explains that he lives in No Care, '[a]s an ancre [...] in clothis blake' (l. 4802). The speaker has already referred to his heart as dressed in black in a much earlier ballade, which takes place long before his lady's death: 'Thus am y whos hurt [heart] in blak is gownnid' (English B18, l. 758). (39) The same reference is found in the French, 'Je suy cellui au cueur vestu de noir' (French B19, l. 25). Susan Crane discusses the speaker's wearing of black in these ballades in particular as a symbolic externalization of pain. She suggests that Charles's own habit of wearing black after his father's death--and throughout the time of his English captivity--serves to 'reinforc[e] his lyrics' claim that affective states can be concretely and performatively expressed'. (40) In both ballades, however, the allusion to the speaker's black clothes appears soon after he has determined to renounce suffering: in the French ballade, the speaker gives his cares up to Nonchaloir, that is, Indifference (French B19, l. 21); the speaker of the English poem makes no reference to No Care, but casts his Care to the ground ('Thus with "No forse!" my care y caste to ground': English B18, l. 754). What remains, however, in both versions, is a sense of wearing black as both a recognition and a rejection of suffering. To wear black is to cast off--or down--worldly preoccupations and material concerns.
In both No Care and in Nonchaloir, the speaker wears black to symbolize his status as a suffering lover, but also to mark his connection to more communal cultural and literary traditions of mourning and grief. In this sense, donning black is a choice--like taking a monastic vow--in which the speaker finds spiritual comfort. In the dream vision sequence in English, when the speaker swears he will wear black until he dies--'And to my deth in blak my silf y bide' (l. 4812)--Venus points out the inherent contradiction in his behaviour: 'Whi so?' she counters, 'dwelle ye not in No Care?' (l. 4813). The speaker replies:
Soth, dwell y so lijk as a masid man [mad man] That hath a bidying and wot not where, For though y whilom fer from Sorow ran Ye wol he lo for ought bat evyr y kan, Be with me, to and to, wil y or no, And as my frend thus cherisshe y my fo! (ll. 4814-19)
In No Care, Charles embraces sorrow as friend rather than foe. Of course, No Care is both where the speaker dwells, metaphorically, 'lijk as a masid man', but it is also a Utopian no-place--he 'hath a bidyng' but 'wot not where'. (41) In such a place, nothing is entirely as it seems. In order to enter No Care the speaker has renounced his vow to Love, but in so doing he has merely exchanged one pledge of service for another: 'Unto this paynfull, ded professioun [oath], | Mi hert and y are swore vnto my last' (ll. 4855-56). To Venus, goddess of Love, the speaker presents his lovelorn life as one of spiritual poverty and contemplation:
Thus haue y told yow my poore ancre lijf And what professioun that y am to bounde. How thenke ye lo nys hit contemplatijf? (ll. 4862-64)
Venus responds, mystified, to the speaker's fantasy of being bound to a religious life: 'Ye do yowre silf confounde!' (l. 4865), she counters, 'Remembre must ye that ye ar a man' (l. 4869), recalling Lady Philosophy's prompting of Boethius, 'Remembrestow that thow art a man?' (Chaucer, Bo. I. pr. vi. 55-56). Yet where Philosophy sought to remind Boethius of his rational, contemplative faculties, Venus here prompts the speaker to confront his manliness--'And haue of nature als yowre lymys goode' (ll. 4870). (42) In her view, the speaker is shaped physically for love rather than for the chaste, monastic life of a 'contemplatijf'.
Of course, such a life, while it is one of voluntary enclosure, is not a life of imprisonment. And yet tracing the various motifs of exile and enclosure, voluntary or involuntary, through Charles's work reveals the ways in which they are connected. Venus's rejection of the speaker's renunciation of love echoes that of the speaker in English Ballade 43, when he chastises his heart for the folly of choosing to live--and die--a loveless life. The vow reframes that of the speaker to his lady, found elsewhere in Charles's body of work with explicit reference to imprisonment. In English Ballade 2, for example, having sworn service to Love, the speaker is imprisoned, in spite of himself, by the lady's body and face:
Syn that yowre plesaunt body and fawkoun [face] Hath me thus tane maugre all my might For prisoner, abidyng day and nyght Yowre pite sewt of which if that y mys The terme as of my deth then is it pight, Myn only ioy and souereyne hertis blis. (English B2, ll. 249-54)
He begs her, at the start of the ballade, to cover her eyes, that her gaze might not harm him:
As plesith yow yowre eyen to pressen And cast them me no more, my ladi bright, For when ye me biholde, the self sesoun (Bi verry god!) ye sle me lo vpright (English B2, ll. 231-34)
In the French ballade, the lady is asked to do more than press ('pressen') her eyes, presumably by covering them with her eyelids or her hands, but to imprison them: (43)
Veuillieuz voz yeulx emprisonner Et sur moy plus ne les giettes, Car, quant vous plaist me regarder, Par Dieu, belle, vous me tues (French B2, ll. 1-4; my italics) (44)
The idea of imprisonment is repeated and connected more closely to the lady's body in the final stanza of the French lyric (given in English above), in which the speaker appears to look back at her more unflinchingly than he was able to at the start:
Trop hardy suy d'ainsi parler, Mais pardonner le me deves Et n'en deves autruy blasmer Que le gent corps que vous portes, Qui m'as mis, comme vous vees, Si fort en l'amoureuse voye Que'en vostre prison me tenes Ma seule souveraine joye (French B2, ll. 17-24) (45)
In both English and French, in this final stanza the poet is variously taken ('tane') and held ('tenes') either as a prisoner by the lady's body, or within the prison of her body. In the concluding envoy, the speaker suddenly submits to the terms of her imprisonment. Yet the notions of imprisonment as a willful holding or a willed taking are dramatically reversed. In English, the speaker declares:
So sore me werieth Loue that y afright, Madame, as lo my sewte wherefore it is To holde my silf yowre sely poore knyght, Myn only ioye and souereyne hertis blis. (English B2, ll. 255-58)
--offering to 'holde' his self, like the vow he has sworn to Love earlier in the narrative to sequence to Love, to be her knight. In French, the speaker bluntly begs the lady to take him:
Ma dame, plus que ne saves, Amour si tresfort me guerroye Qu'a vous me rens. Or me prenes, Ma seule souveraine joye. (French B2, ll. 25-28) (46)
That the speaker surrenders on the battlefield of Love is rendered more explicit here than in the English version. The reference serves as a powerful reminder of the conditions of imprisonment in wartime, found in much late medieval Anglo-French poetry. (47) Love makes war (werieth) on the speaker in the English ballade also, and yet in French, the punchline--'Or me prenes'--emphasizes the semantic similarity of the rhyming pair ('tenes' / 'prenes'). The French poem dramatically turns on its beginning in closing: where the speaker initially begs the lady to spare his life by imprisoning her own eyes, at its end he formally surrenders, giving himself up as her prisoner. The English poem, on the other hand, emphasizes the possibility that imprisonment--however willingly the prisoner submits to it--carries with it the prospect of martyrdom: 'The terme as of my deth' (English B2, l. 253). The formal ending is not as neatly enclosed by a central metaphor as the French, and yet it represents the development of that metaphor in new ways. When the speaker promises 'To holde my silf yowre sely poore knyght' (English B2, l. 257) he unlocks the political potential of the vow to a 'sovereign' lady as which recalls that of the knight to a sovereign lord. But he also anticipates the spiritual potential of the vow made by the knight who has been impoverished by Love to withdraw from Love, and to seek new forms of enclosure as comfort.
In a lyric in the second ballade sequence in Charles's English works, the speaker introduces the idea of anchorage as an active manifestation of the desire for enclosure:
O Sely Ankir, that in thi selle, Iclosed art with stoon and gost not out, Thou maist ben gladder so forto dwelle Then y with wanton wandryng bus abowt That haue me pikid amongis be rowt An endless woo withouten recomfort, That of my poore lijf y stonde in dowt. (English B97, ll. 5784-89; no French)
In this manifestation of figurative agoraphobia, the speaker bewails the 'wanton wandryng' to which he is consigned as a lover, and the crowds of people that compound his unease: 'Of fayre folkis [...] | A thousand fold that doth encrese my care' (ll. 5797-98). The poet associates the anchorite's cell, by contrast, with emotional if not physical comfort and contentment: 'The anker hath no more him forto greve | Than sool alone vpon the wallis stare' (ll. 5792-93). Monkish solitude has become the speaker's 'habit' and the form of spiritual comfort which he most craves. The poem's envoy incorporates a series of cumulative exclamations expressing the speaker's grief for the absent lady,
Wo worthe them which bat raft me hir presence! Wo worth the tyme to y to hir resort! Wo worthis me to be thus in absence! Go, dull complaynt, my lady bis report! (English B97, ll. 5808-11; no French)
These anaphoric exclamations are reprised in the opening lines of the following ballade, in which he greets her in person:
Welcome, my ioy! Welcome, myn hertis ese! Welcome, my lady! Welcome, my plesaunce! Welcome, my sovl comfort in all disese! etc. (English B98, ll. 5812-14; no French)
In the formal juxtaposition of the poems, it is as if the speaker's desire for the hermit's cell has finally captured the reluctant lady's attention, drawing her out to meet him. The anchorite's cell is positioned within the narrative as a space of spiritual and emotional conversion, literally transforming 'wo' to 'wel' or joy--here, to 'welcome'.
There exist no allusions to the lover's life as an anchorite or hermit in the known body of Charles's French lyrics. Two figurations of prison, however --neither of which is present in his English work--develop the concept of the penitential prison in a classical setting. (48) In one ballade (French B76; no English equivalent), written in celebration of France's recovery of the duchies of Guyenne and Normandy, the poet raises the penitential motif in a contemporary political setting. The poet describes the former France as a sinner who has been punitively enclosed by divine command, but for whom the experience of enclosure brings about a dramatic self-reformation:
Lors estoies ainsi que fut Tays, Pecheresse qui, pour faire penance, Enclouse fut par divine ordonnance. Ainsi as tu este en reclusaige De Desconfort et Douleur de couraige, [...] Or a tourne Dieu ton dueil en esbat (French B76, ll. 14-18, 21) (49)
Thais may here refer to the Athenian courtesan who was Alexander the Great's mistress, or perhaps more probably to the fourth-century prostitute, Thais of Alexandria, who converted to Christianity and was kept in a convent cell to perform penance for her prior sins. (50) Either way, penance is productive: the idea of religious enclosure for the purpose of penance is linked throughout the poem to political freedom, yet it is the fact of France's performing penance that ensures this transformation.
The second classical reference is to the Greek myth of Dedalus (father of Icarus), who invents the labyrinth for the Minotaur. In this roundel (French R433), the speaker's melancholy is itself Dedalus's prison--'C'est la prison Dedalus!' (l. 1)--from which he will never escape. This is not initially a space of spiritual transformation, but in the final stanza, it becomes one of penance, when the speaker recalls another mythological figure, Tantalus, eternally punished by the gods for having given their secrets to mortals:
Oncques ne fut Tantalus En si tres peneuse vie, Ne, quelque chose qu'on die, Chartreux, hermite ou reclus, C'est la prison Dedalus! (French R433, ll. 9-11) (51)
The poet lives in the ultimate form of penance in this roundel, performing his penance in the manner of one condemned eternally to desire satisfaction and never be appeased. And yet there is still, in this roundel, a submission to the idea of the eternal prison: the roundel itself performs this sense of endless circularity in the refrain 'C'est la prison Dedalus'. In BnF MS fr. 25458, 'Dedalus' is omitted from both the second and third stanzas, leaving only the words 'C'est la prison' ('It is prison'). Omitting all or part of a lyric's refrain is typical in scribal culture; and yet here the omission--which is authorial as well as scribal--helps to underscore the broader metaphorical sense of imprisonment in which the speaker feels himself trapped. In another French roundel, the speaker seems to be confined within the poem itself, shut away in its forms,
Je suis a cela Que Merancolie Me gouvernera. Qui m'en gardera? Je suis a cela. Puis qu'ainsi me va Je croy qu'a ma vie Autre ne sera. Je suis a cela. (French R398, ll. 1-9) (52)
When it first appears in line 1, the refrain, 'Je suis a cela', homophonically recalls the contemplative's 'cell'. Thereafter, in the mise-en-page of Charles's own manuscript, the speaker simply exists--'Je suis'--held within both the formal and scribal strictures of his poem. The spiritual recluse may find freedom in desiring and accepting enclosure. Similarly, for the speaker, as a form of constraint poetry is also a source of release.
In the French lyrics which Charles and his contemporaries composed in his court at Blois, images of imprisonment recur in the form of the 'prisoners ofThought', withSoussy ('Care') as jailer, for whom Charles's fellow poets beg for alms (see French Ballades 405-11), and again, later, in direct connection to the individual speaker's own body. In the refrain of French Chanson 55, the body is a prison from which a furtive sigh escapes:
Reprenez ce larron souspir Qui s'est emble soudainement Sans congie ou commandement Hors de la prison de Desir. (French Ch55, ll. 1-4) (53)
While in a later series of roundels, the poet is ruled by a new mistress, Viellesse ('Old Age'), and surrenders himself to Soussy as his jailer:
Du jaullier appelle Soussy Que rendu me tiens, pour tousjours, Des vieilles defferres d'Amours. (R413, ll. 10-12) (54)
Finally Viellesse herself becomes both the speaker's jailer and his protector, desiring to hold her subject 'en chambre close' ('in a locked room': French R415, l. 9), in order to keep him from the suffering of youth.
In these later French lyrics, the poetic speaker's reconciliation with the prison is a submission to poetics itself as the ultimate form of artistic enclosure. By the time the reader gets to the end of the English poems in Harley MS 682, the idea of the speaker's living 'lijk a prisonere' in Ballade 112 is something of an in-joke, as intratextual as it is intertextual. The simile is the rhetorical fulcrum on which the emotional intensity of the passage turns:
Wot ye not wel that lijk a prisonere I must abide the oth bat I have swore? Myn hert, y need no more vnto yow lere. Ye wote my wele. What shulde y wordis more? (English B112, ll. 6279-82)
Here, the speaker is acutely aware of his use of figurative language to perform the experience of a particular emotional state. The final line of the envoy rearranges the syntax of the original refrain: 'Wot ye not wel [...]?' becomes 'Ye wot my wele'. It is as if the poet's words, with only so much space in which to move, turn back over on themselves. And yet as they do so they transform from a cautiously-framed question to a confident iteration of the speaker's desire.
For Charles it is poetry's metre and rhythm that provides some form of consolation, and offers, as well as a form of enclosure, a space of refuge. If we were to insist on relating the facts of Charles's personal experience to his composition, we might say that just as the political circumstances and the physical spaces of his experience changed, so too did his metaphorical figurations of that experience. But to do so would be to gloss over the conscious and insistent poetics of Charles's manipulation of the trope. By the end of Fortunes Stabilnes, the speaker is no longer a prisoner, but rather, he is one who is prisoner-like, the simile emphasizing the distance between literal and figurative language. Both Charles and the speaker here perform the role of prison-poet. Far from being 'doggedly conventional', his figurations of the trope of literary imprisonment are complex and innovative. (55) The long-dismissed twentieth-century critical perception of the 'dull' fifteenth century of English literature--in which critics themselves were for some time imprisoned--has limited our modern view of Charles's own desire for imprisonment in literary forms. Reading Charles's French and English lyrics together by paying attention to a particular motif is not intended to demonstrate the poet's formal mastery of one language or another. Rather, it is intended to move past any sense of Charles's poetry--in English or French--as a capitulation to literary tradition, but as evidence of the poet's innovation of its trans-lingual and trans-generic forms.
For Brombert, the 'prison dream' is an essential, if ambivalent, reality in Western tradition:
Prison walls confine the 'culprit,' victimize the innocent, affirm the power of society. But they also, it would seem, protect poetic meditation and religious fervor. The prisoner's cell and the monastic cell look strangely alike. [...] For the freedom in question is of the mind; it can only be attained through withdrawal into the self. It is the turbulence of life that the poet--'a spiritual anarchist'--comes to view as exile or captivity. (56)
The idea of imprisonment as a state that might be desired or sought is deeply problematic, in any era, even if such desire itself has a long cultural history. This is why, I think, that when we look more closely at Charles's imprisonment poetics we find something much broader, and far less conventional, than has sometimes been claimed: a series of images linked by their insistence on various forms of enclosure and restraint, voluntary and involuntary, which represent sources of both suffering and comfort, secular and spiritual. The semantic range of this poetics of enclosure suggests that the poet was deeply interested in the cultural ambiguities attached to the idea of imprisonment in poetry and in poetic form, and underscores the complex and reciprocal relationship of fact and fiction in his secular writing. As in Boethius's Consolation, it is literature itself which gradually brings both consolation and spiritual growth. In Charles's French and English poetry, the notion of a Boethian reconciliation with the formal, figurative, and historical forms of imprisonment enacts a version of 'the prison dream': a recognition that enclosure may be both desired and desirable, and that it is a (if not the) critical condition of poetry itself.
Stephanie Downes (*)
University of Melbourne
(*) My sincere thanks to Mary-Jo Arn for her indispensible feedback on an earlier draft of this essay, and to Parergons anonymous reviewers for their clear and insightful commentary. I also wish to thank the editors of this special issue, Lisa Di Crescenzo and Sally Fisher, for inviting me to be a part of the symposium that gave rise to it, and for commissioning me to write this article. Research for this paper was conducted with the generous support of the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, 1100-1800 (CE110001011).
(1) Victor Brombert, The Romantic Prison: The French Tradition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978), p. 3. Megan Cassidy-Welch discusses the presence of these ambivalences in medieval spiritual writings, in which the prisoner--sinner or saint--finds 'both consolation and confrontation' in captivity. Megan Cassidy-Welch, Imprisonment in the Medieval Religious Imagination, c. 1150-1400 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), p. 1.
(2) Fortunes Stabilnes: Charles of Orleans' English Book of Love: A Critical Edition, ed. by Mary-Jo Arn (New York: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1994). All subsequent references to Charles's English poetry are to Arn's edition, unless otherwise indicated, and are cited by lyric and line number in-text.
(3) The Poetry of Charles d'Orleans and His Circle: A Critical Edition of BnF MS. fr. 25458, Charles d'Orleans's Personal Manuscript, ed. by John Fox and Mary-Jo Arn, ACMRS (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010). All references to Charles's French poetry and all English translations, unless otherwise indicated, are to this edition and are cited by lyric and line number in-text.
(4) See, for example, Ardis Butterfield's analysis of Anglo-French lyric exchange and innovation in The Familiar Enemy: Chaucer, Language and Nation in the Hundred Years War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); on Deschamps and Chaucer in particular, see Elizaveta Strakhov, 'Tending to One's Garden: Deschamps' "Ballade to Chaucer" Reconsidered', Medium Aevum, 85.2 (2016), 236-58.
(5) Laurence De Looze, Pseudo-Autobiography in the Fourteenth Century: Juan Ruiz, Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, and Geoffrey Chaucer (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1997), p. 119.
(6) Karl-Heinz Goller, 'The Metaphorical Prison as an Exegetical Image of Man', in The Medieval Text: Methods and Hermeneutics:A Volume of Essays in Honor of Edelgard Else Renate Conradt DuBruck, ed. by William C. McDonald and Guy R. Mermier, Fifteenth-Century Studies, 17 [Special Issue] (1990), pp. 121-45 (p. 121).
(7) See, for example, The Kingis Quair and Other Prison Poems, ed. by Linne R. Mooney and Mary-Jo Arn, TEAMS (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2005), which includes selections from 'Fortunes Stabilnes', pp. 113-46. The editors also observe that, while 'much has been made of Charles d'Orleans as a prisoner, [...] in fact he uses the concept of prison in his poetry much less explicitly that do other poets whose work is included in this volume' (p. 119).
(8) 'Here begins the book that M. Charles Duke of Orleans made while he was a prisoner in England' (my translation). The note is repeated at the explicit (fol. 117):
Cy fini le livre que mons[ieu]r le duc dorlians afait estant prisonnier En angleterre
('Here ends the book that my lord the duke of Orleans made while he was a prisoner in England'--my translation.)
(9) 'Here begins a ballade which M. the Count William de la Pole of Suffolk made while he was a prisoner in France' (my translation). Further examples on fols [25.sub.r] and [33.sub.r]. In British Library MS Additional 34360, which was probably copied from this manuscript, the notes appear only in English. See fols [22.sup.v] and [23.sub.r].
(10) Stephanie Downes, "Je He Guerre, Point Ne La Doy Prisier": Peace and the Emotions of War in the Prison Poetry of Charles d'Orleans', in Emotions and War: Medieval to Romantic Literature, ed. by Stephanie Downes, Andrew Lynch, and Katrina OLoughlin (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2015), pp. 60-76, (pp. 69-70).
(11) Julia Boffey, 'French Lyrics and English Manuscripts: The Transmission of Some Poems in Trinity College, Cambridge, MS R.3.20 and British Library MS Harley 7333', Text: Transactions of the Society for Textual Scholarship, 4 (1988), 135-46, (pp. 141 and 146 n. 22).
(12) For the French poems, see B141, B142, B143 and B147, in The Poetry of Charles d'Orleans and His Circle. For a discussion of the poetic exchange as evidence of Charles's politicism, see Estelle Doudet, 'Orleans, Bourbon et Bourgogne, politique de l'echange dans les Ballades de Charles d'Orleans', in Lectures de Charles d'Orleans, ed. by D. Hue (Rennes: PUR, 2010), pp. 125-40; and Susan Crane, 'Charles of Orleans: Self-Translator', The Medieval Translator, 8 (2003), 169-77.
(13) Anne E. B. Coldiron, Canon, Period, and the Poetry of Charles of Orleans (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000), p. 135.
(14) Robert Louis Stevenson was one of the earliest writers to insist on the 'genuine', subjective feeling of Charles's French poetry--for Stevenson, Charles was, like Hamlet, a tortured soul who could only 'unpack his heart with words'. Robert Louis Stevenson, Familiar Studies of Men and Books (London: Chatto and Windus, 1882), pp. 236-89. In addition to those recent studies mentioned here, see also the bibliography of critical studies of Charles as a writer of English 'prison poems' in Mooney and Arn, eds, The Kingis Quair and Other Prison Poems, pp. 126-27.
(15) A. C. Spearing, 'Prison, Writing, Absence: Representing the Subject in the English Poems of Charles d'Orleans', Modern Language Quarterly, 53 (1992), 83-89 (p. 83).
(16) Robert Epstein, 'Prisoners of Reflection: The Fifteenth-Century Poetry of Exile', Exemplaria, 15.1 (2003), 159-98. Diane R. Marks also directly compares James I with Charles. See 'Poems from Prison: James I of Scotland and Charles of Orleans', FifteenthCentury Studies, 15 (1989), 245-58.
(17) Joanna Summers, Late Medieval Prison Writing and the Politics of Autobiography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 90-107.
(18) '[For Charles,] the obsession of the prison is born of an experience prepared and illuminated by a fact of culture' (my translation). Alice Planche, Charles d'Orleans ou la recherche d'un langage (Paris: H. Champion, 1975), p. 233.
(19) Planche, Charles d'Orleans, pp. 233-47.
(20) Karen Newman, 'The Mind's Castle: Containment in the Poetry of Charles d'Orleans', Romance Philology, 33.2 (1979), 316-28.
(21) Newman, 'The Mind's Castle', p. 319. See Gilbert Ouy, 'Un poeme mystique de Charles d'Orleans: Le "Canticum Amoris"', Studi Francesi, 7 (1959), 64-84. Ouy reports that Charles visited frequently there with Thomas Wynchelsey, a resident brother and founder of the monastery's library, who reportedly dedicated a copy of his Instructorium providi peregrini to Charles in thanks for having lent him works by Paris theologian Jean Gerson. On the books owned by Charles and his brother Jean d'Angouleme during their confinement in England, see Gilbert Ouy, La Librairie des freres captifs: les manuscrits de Charles d'Orleans et Jean d'Angouleme (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007).
(22) Spearing, 'Prison, Writing, Absence', pp. 86-87.
(23) Ardis Butterfield, 'Afterwords: Forms of Death', Exemplaria, 27.1-2 (2016), 167-82.
(24) Eleanor Johnson, Practicing Literary Theory in the Middle Ages: Ethics and the Mixed Form in Chaucer, Gower, Usk, and Hoccleve (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), p. 19.
(25) Johnson, Practicing Literary Theory, p. 36.
(26) Eleanor Johnson, 'Chaucer and the Consolation of Prosimetrum', The Chaucer Review, 43.4 (2009), 455-72.
(27) Newman, 'The Mind's Castle', p. 325.
(28) Newman, 'The Mind's Castle', p. 326.
(29) 'An old man can do but little!'
(30) See especially, Fox and Arn, eds, The Poetry of Charles d'Orleans and His Circle, pp. 756-63, on the 'Jaulier des prisons de Pensee' (French R404-08) and on giving alms to prisoners, 'Donnez l'amosne aux prisonners' ['Give the prisoners alms'] (R409-11).
(31) 'As plesith yow yowre eyen to pressen [imprison]' (English B2, l. 231; see French B2) and 'Who so that kast him silf to kepe from loue [...] | Prysone his eyen, lest that ellis they him move' (ll. 2668-70); see the 'Songe en complainte', ll. 129-36 in Fox and Arn).
(32) Mary-Jo Arn, 'Poetic Form as Mirror of Meaning in the English Poems of Charles of Orleans', Philological Quarterly, 69.1 (1990), 13-29 (p. 17).
(33) 'I have leisure enough to write ballades. | Other sport is denied me. | I'm a prisoner, a martyr to love. | Alas! And is this not enough?'
(34) Middle English Dictionary, ed. by Hans Kurath with Sherman M. Kuhn (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1952-2001; online version, 2013), s.v. 'baladen' <https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/med/>.
(35) 'They forced his pleasure into the wild | And kept his Joy near meager grazing. | But Comfort, without fail, has | Faithfully promised the heart yet again | They will be defeated and banished. | Hope struggles hard with this | And more than I dare say. | This is what puts an end to the heart's suffering | In the prison of Misery.'
(36) See also Fortunes Stabilnes, ll. 4591-611 [unnumbered carole], and French Carole 2 ('Avancez vous, Esperance'), in which the speaker's heart can no longer bear 'outrageous payne and grete penaunce' (l. 4594) / 'Sa tresgreveuse penance' (l. 4).
(37) Arn, Introduction to ' Charles of Orleans: Fortunes Stabilnes', in The Kingis Quair and Other Prison Poems, ed. by Mooney and Arn, pp. 113-28 (p. 122). The ballade is printed on pp. 132-33.
(38) Arn, Introduction to 'Charles of Orleans: Fortunes Stabilnes', p. 122.
(39) The English text contains a pun on hurt/heart. The description recalls the griefstricken Man in Black in Chaucer's Book of the Duchess. See Julia Boffey, 'Charles of Orleans Reading Chaucer's Dream Visions', in Mediaevalitas: Reading the Middle Ages, ed. by Pietro Boitani and Anna Torti (Woodbridge: Brewer, 1995), pp. 43-62 (p. 47).
(40) Susan Crane, The Performance of Self: Ritual, Clothing and Identity during the Hundred Years War (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002), p. 63.
(41) On medieval theories of utopianism in general, see Karma Lochrie, Nowhere in the Middle Ages (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).
(42) Summers, Late Medieval Prison Writing, pp. 103-04.
(43) Charles may have intended a pun on pressen/prisounen, though the former is not usually used to describe the act of imprisoning in Middle English.
(44) 'Please take your eyes prisoner | And do not let them look upon me, | For, when you are pleased to gaze at me, | By God, belle, you kill me.'
(45) 'In speaking thus I am too bold, | But you must pardon me | And blame no one else, | For the noble form that is yours, | As you see, has so forcefully | Put me on the path of love | That you hold me in your prison, | My only sovereign joy.'
(46) 'My lady, more than you know, | Love makes such fierce war upon me | I surrender to you. Now take me, | My only sovereign joy.'
(47) See, for example, Guillaume de Machaut's Le Confort d'Ami, in which the speaker comforts a friend in prison: Le Confort d'Ami (Comfortfor a Friend), ed. and trans. by R. Barton Palmer, Garland Library, 67 (New York: Garland, 1992). For the image of war in Charles's French and English poetry, see Downes, '"Je He Guerre"', pp. 60-76.
(48) On the idea of the penitential prison in classical thought more generally, see Julia Hillner, Prison, Punishment and Penance in Late Antiquity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).
(49) 'Then you were like Thais, | A sinner who, in order to suffer penance, | Was shut in by divine command. | Just so, you have been put in the seclusion | Of Desolation and Painful Resolve, | [...] | Now God has changed your suffering to joy.'
(50) On both Thais of Athens and Alexandria, see Mooney and Arn, eds, The Kingis Quair and Other Prison Poems, p. 877.
(51) 'Never was Tantalus | In such a miserable life, | Nor, whatever any might say, | A Carthusian (monk), hermit or recluse, | It's the prison of Dedalus!' (my translation).
(52) 'I am in a space | Where Melancholy | Will rule over me. | Who will protect from it? | I am in a space. | Since this is how it goes for me, | I believe that in my life | There'll be nothing else. | I am in a space' (my translation).
(53) 'Recapture this furtive sigh | That suddenly stole away | Without leave or command | From the prison of Desire.'
(54) 'Of the jailer named Care, | Who holds me, surrendered, for always, | With the old [ones] offcast of Love (my translation).
(55) Epstein, 'Prisoners of Reflection', p. 179.
(56) Brombert, The Romantic Prison, p. 3.
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|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2017|
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