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Love, hope, and the nature of merci in Machaut's musical balades Esperance (B13) and Je ne cuit pas (B14).

Esperance qui masseure (B13) and Je ne cuit pas quonques a creature (B14), copied adjacently in the music section of the Machaut manuscripts, are musically paired: Wulf Arlt has termed them "sister balades." (1) This pairing makes meaningful their many contrasts, in particular the very different musical and poetic functions of their refrains. Arlt's musico-textual approach will here be combined with Sylvia Huot's analysis of Machaut's book as a scribal-authorial collection in which manuscript order creates additional meanings. (2)

One effect of Machaut's control over Iris works is the use of ordering to promote relationships between adjacent lyrics. In his collected lyrics without music, the Loange des dames, poems linked by a combination of adjacency and shared lexis, rhymes, and/or versification create the illusion of a background narrative supporting the lyric moments. Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet has drawn attention to the "auto-intertextuality" relating items from the Loange and the Voir Dit. (3) Arguably, such a technique can be seen throughout Machaut's oeuvre. In the poems of the music section such proto-narrative sequences have an additional level of signification--the music--which can link seemingly dissimilar poetic texts. Musical structure offers a performative punctuation which can highlight or upset the poetic verse structure of a poem, subverting poetic meanings, playing games with versification, and re-weighting semantic elements. Careful placement of musical cadences (closural articulations) can emphasize specific words; melismas (singing many notes to one syllable) can prolong vowel sounds, emphasizing rhymes. This musical poetry takes place in time, its delivery authorially controlled and manipulated.

As well as treating the pair B13/B14 in their immediate context in the music balade section, I will discuss B14's duplication within a sequence of poems in the Loange. The relationship between B14's sung and unsung contexts elucidates a theme central to Machaut's courtly discourse: the role of merci within the dialectically related poetics of Esperance and Desirs.

Esperance in the Sequence of the Music Balades

In relation to his lady, the lover of Esperance (B13) is little better off than the unhappy lovers who dominate most of the music balades that precede B13 in the collected works manuscripts. (4) The lady's beauty has attracted the lover and he awaits her merci. However, the very presence of Esperance verbally at the beginning of the song makes all the difference to the lover's emotional experience of his situation (see figure 1). Unlike the generally suffering amants who pervade the first twelve music balades, B13's je is reassured by Hope, and does not grieve, even if the waiting is hard, since he has hope of reward without equal.

The balades preceding B13 in the music section culminate in the self-conscious poet's je of Pour ce que tous (B12), who threatens to stop composing and singing songs. His refrain asserts that no one can blame him "se je chant mains que ne sueil." His audience complains because his songs are sorrowful, but this, he explains, reflects nothing other than his own authentic lover's sentement upon which his lady's lack of reciprocal love has had a deleterious effect.

B12's refrain rhyme, "-eil," new in the context of the music balades, is the a-rhyme of B13, whose lady similarly has not reciprocated, but where the presence of Esperance reconfigures as joy B12's sorrow. For Kevin Brownlee, B13 "articulates the classic Machauldian topos: for the loving self, Hope (Esperance) transforms loving into a self-sufficient state which does not depend on actual erotic fulfillment; thus awaiting the Lady's favors becomes an end in itself." (5) This feature of Machaut's courtly doctrine is central to Machaut's negotiation of the tension between his social status as poet and his poetic persona as je-lover: socially debarred from being a successful courtly lover, he makes poetic capital of his necessary lack of amorous success. (6) This facilitates remaining true to one's sentement in sorrowful poems like B12, because the lady's non-reciprocation fittingly inspires the poet's lamentation. However, the auditors then complain, because they want music to serve them as a joyous diversion, a comfort, an antidote to melancholy. As Machaut himself states in his Prologue:
   Musique est une science
   Qui vuet qu'on rie et chante et dance.
   Cure n'a de merencolie,
   Ne d'homme qui merencolie
   A chose qui ne puet valoir,
   Eins met tels gens en nonchaloir.
   Partout ou elle est joie y porte;
   Les desconfortez reconforte,
   Et nes seulement de l'oir
   Fait elle les gens resjoir. (12) (7)

Not to compose from joy is a "mesfait" and yet Machaut is keen to emphasize his poetry's emotional authenticity by having his poetry supposedly reflect lais feelings. Without either necessitating the lady's reciprocation or compromising the poet's sentement, music's expression of joy is enabled in B13 by the action of Hope within the lover's own heart. (8)

The Meanings of Merci in Machaut

In middle French courtly lyric the word merci signifies a broad range of favors that the lady may grant her lover; its meaning overlaps with "pity," but it also carries the sense of remuneration, reward or even salary--the pay-off in the economy of noble love. Within Machaut's usage it has a specific resonance and range of meanings. In his last major long poem, the Voir Dit, Machaut defines merci twice: once for Toute Belle in a letter; later for the reader in the narrative just before the erotic climax of the dit. In Letter 6 he writes "Merci is nothing other than satisfaction. " (9) But what is satisfaction? In the narrative preceding the Prayer to Venus, the somewhat premature erotic climax of the dit, Machaut addresses this issue. Here, Toute Belle and her compaignette Guillemette have forced the protesting (but essentially willing) Guillaume into Toute Belle's bed, where he lies rigid with trepidation, watching her sleep. As she wakens, she bids him embrace her, which he does, declaring:
   Sestoie com cils qui se baigne
   En flun de paradis terrestre
   Car de tout le bien qui puet estre
   Par honnour estoie assevis
   Et saouler a mon devis
   Sans plus pour la grant habundance
   Que iavoie de souffisance
   Car tout ce quelle me disoit
   Trop hautement me souffisoit
   Et tout le bien  que je sentoie
   A goust de mercys savoutoie
   Sans pernser mal ne tricherie
   Car trop estoit de moy chierie (10)

Having used the term "merci," Guillaume says a little about what merci is by means of a short exemplum about two lovers. The first is loyal but often absent, serving his lady in deeds inspired by love, without asking anything from her. The second stays at court to joust, sing, dance, and carole, awaiting merci from an embrace or kiss which would be enough to satisfy him. Guillaume draws a parallel between himself and the first lover whose heart, like his, trembles when he sees his lady:
   Et ce que souffist que la voie  Et que dales li sesbanoie
   Et quant a chascun deuls souffist
   Sans desservir autre profit
   Je di que vraie souffisance
   Damours est mercy sans doubtance (11)

Guillaume's claim for kinship with this first type of lover is undercut by his actions. He has stayed by his lady's side to the point of being in her very bed, has just embraced her, and has declared the sufficiency of his lady's embrace. Moreover, the poem continues with Guillaume's own descriptions of himself engaging in several of the activities that his exemplum attributed to the second lover: he sings, dines, plays bowls, and remains at his lady's side in the garden, which he describes as pre-lapsarian (lines 3865-3924). This "esbatement" repeatedly referred to as "honnourable," culminates in the descent of Venus, whose cloud visually (but not semiotically) obscures the two lovers naked in bed. The mismatch between words and deeds continues even after Venus's departure. In the aubade-like "chanson baladee" Guillaume still protests that:
   La fu bien lonnour garder
   Et la renommee
   De son cointe corps ioli
   Quonques villeirme pensee
   Ne fu engendree
   Ne nee entre moy et li. (12)

The rhyme words "engendree" and "nee" imply some form of procreation (although what is brought forth from this union is poetry rather than base thoughts); the next stanza of this same lyric makes implicit reference to the sexual act:
   Souffissance menrichi
   Et plaisance si
   Quonques creature nee
   Not le cuer si assevi
   Ne mains de sousci
   Ne joie si affinee
   Car la deesse honnouree
   Qui fait lassamblee
   Damours damie et dami
   Coppa le chief de sespee
   A dangier mon anemj (13)

Guillaume's reliability as a glosser of his own actions is here brought into question by his insistence on his honor, hos own behavior, and his exemplum, whose mismatch invites readers to make their own, opposite judgments. His lyrics betray the narrative: despite his protestations, the merci Guillaume receives is of exactly the king that could jeopardize Toute Belle's good name.

When Esperance accosts Guillaume on his way home from this very encounter and accuses him of having forgotten her (lines 4300-4461), the difference between the two lovers of Machaut's exemplum are implied to characterize oving with and without Hope, respectively. The first, more noble lover serves loyally without asking for anything from the lady and is able to travel. His love is self-sufficient through the action of Hope, aided by Souvenirs and Dous Pensers which can give the illusion of "seeing and hearing" the lady, even when the lover is physically parted from her. The second lover must stay at court to sing, dance, and carole--all of which Guillaume did simultaneously in composing the chanson baladee--since a kiss or embrace is all that will suffice. The type of merci depicted at the erotic climax of the Voir Dit is that which suffices when Hope is forgotten, a merci born of desire, necessitating reciprocation from the lady which can ruin her honor and good name. By implication the merci which suffices for a lover with Hope is more noble, more sustainable, and less damaging. Esperance (B13) foregrounds a lover for whom simply serving Love (and, thereby, his lady) in Hope is "souffisance."

Esperance (B13)

B13's three octosyllabic-lined stanzas rhyming ababbcC are set to a standard musical balade form. The first two lines comprise one musical section (A), whose music is repeated for lines 3-4. The two performances of the A section in each stanza differ only in their endings. The first ending is called the ouvert cadence (o) and the second ending, the clos (c). The refrain line, the same in all three stanzas, has its own musical section (R). Between the A and R sections, the rest of the text (lines 5 and 6) have their own section (B). Most of Machaut's balades make a musical parallel between the clos cadence and the end of the R section, effectively dividing the balade into two large sections. This is sometimes furthered by making the cadence at the end of the B section (the "pre-refrain" cadence), resemble that of the ouvert: AoAcBoRc.

As often but not always in Machaut, the clos and ouvert cadences of B13 provide a hierarchy for primary and secondary tonal goals, respectively, throughout the piece. The first cadence (to G/d) emphasizes the emblematic opening word, "Esperance," and prefigures the clos and final cadences of the piece. The next (from breves 3-4 within m.2) resolves to a/e, prefiguring the ouvert sonority. Just as the ouvert goal is tonally weaker than the clos, its prefigurement here is mensurally weaker than the prefigurement of the clos in measures 102, falling in the middle of the measure. And just as it is secondary in the hierarchy, it is sequentially the second cadence goal of the piece.

B13 reuses the "-eil" rhyme, whose first appearance within the music section balade sequence was as B12's refrain rhyme. Because rhymes are the chief means of diversity and individuality within lyrics, for one balade to reuse a rhyme, especially a fairly uncommon one which was both new and prominently placed in an adjacent balade, is significant. B13 increases the aural force of this by placing "-eil" as its b-rhyme meaning there are three in each stanza, each emphasized aurally in the musical setting (see figure 2 and example 1, mm.80, 8c, and 11). As the other important section-end in the balade sets the refrain rhyme-word, the "-eil" rhymes are linked specifically to merci by their similar aural prominence. B13 shares many of these "-eil" rhyme words with B12, through which it rewrites the despair of B12 in the light of Hope (see figure 1). The lover's herart in B12 must "vivre en tel dueil," and he thinks that no heart could ever imagine "La dolour que je recueil." In B13, by contrast, the lover says that besides hope, joy, sweet thought and sustenance "maint autre grant bien recueil," such that, although the wait may be hard, "en desirant pas ne men dueil." What remains constant between the two poems is the lady's "bel acueil" (B13), "douse acueil" (B12). These text segments emphasizing Hope's reconfiguration of despair as joy in B13, all fall prominently within the musical structure at either ouvert or clos cadences. They receive further musical emphasis because, in a striking departure from Machaut's own norm, the two principal musical phrases of the A section curry unequal amounts of text. In Machaut's balades, the two musical phrases of the A section are usually coterminous with its two poetic lines. Here, the first musical phrase (measures 1-5) carries both line 1 and the first four syllables of line 2 (see example 1). The end of the musical phrase is marked rhythmicaUy by cantus rests and tenor link figure, and tonally by a (mensurally weak) progression back to the opening's unison d (marked * in example 1). (14) The second, shorter musical phrase (measures 6-8) carries the final four syllables of line 2 resulting in a fourbreve unit melisma, terminated by the "-eil" rhyme words. (15)



In contrast to its A section, B13's B and R sections set each of every stanza's three remaining poetic lines to its own separate musical phrase. The ouvert-clos protocol tonally organizes the remainder of the balade. The whole of line 5 (measures 9-11) promulgates the expectation of its eventual resolution to G/g. Line 6 (measures 12-14) is similar to the setting of line 2 (ending a/e). (16) The slow-moving, near-syllabic refrain line quotes the refrain of a rondeau in Oxford Bodleian, Douce 308, (17) and summarizes the main tonal action of the balade with an initial resolution to G/g (m.15), a displaced one to a/e (at m.16) and a final cadence to G/d (m.17). That final cadence's close resemblance to the opening one, musically connects the initial concept of Esperance to the final word of the refrain, "merci." (18) The refrain text is sung to this music in all three stanzas; the initial cadence has six different texts (two per stanza). Nevertheless, the initial cadence sets four key concepts in the poem, notably Esperance and Dous Pensers in the first stanza as well as bonte and Souvenirs. In Machaut's Prologue, Esperance is the third child of Amours', the first is Dous Pensers. The second "child," Plaisance, may well be implied by "merci" itself. (19) As the tenor of the refrain is slightly offset rhythmically compared to its presentation at the opening of the piece, the potential for a directed progression is avoided until the end--the listener, like the lover, must wait for the merci of the final cadence.

B13 and B14

Esperance (B13; example 1) and Je ne cuitpas (B14; example 2) are poetically and musically related, representing complementary masculine and feminine perspectives on the enrichments of Love. They endorse the idea that honorable merci is something in which the beloved is passive-simply seen and heard by the lover. The two balades have the same a-rhyme ("-ure"), and each shares its musically prominent b-rhyme with a rhyme from B12. Although "-I" is only a rhyme, and "merci" a rhyme word, in B13, B14'S musical setting emphasizes them both. In neither B13 nor B14 are all musical phrases coterminous with all poetic lines--there is a line-phrase mismatch in the A section of B13 and the B section of B14--and in both cases internal musical consistency provides an argument for accepting such non-congruence as written. Both balades have a more active tenor part than those occurring before them, with many minims and some motivic content. They have similar mensural relationships between their three smallest note values and share prevailing iambic movement and rhythmic-melodic figures, notably at the beginning of each song (compare B13 mm.2-3 with B14 mm.2-5, and also B13 m.80 with B14 m.18c). (20) The range, contour, and focal pitches of their cantus parts are similar--a basic octave range of a to aa with primary cadences terminating to d and secondary ones to e. Most of the directed progressions of both balades' A sections resolve to tenor tones a or G. B14 opens with a progression familiar from B13, where it links the primary and secondary tenor pitch focuses: an a/e resolution concatenated to G/g via cantus f#. The contour of B14's refrain is markedly similar to B13's B section, despite different rhythmicization (compare B13 mm.11-7 with B14 mm.33-40).

These shared features inspire a strong expectation of similar tonal emphases throughout B14, a supposition supported by the fact that the ouvert sonority of both balades is the same (Je). Thus, both in terms of the expectations set up within the A section of B14 itself, and through comparison with the normative backdrop provided by B13, B14'S clos sonority, D/d, is a surprise. The tenor pitch D does not occur before the clos cadence, nor are there any perfect sonorities based on d in the A section; the tonal area of the clos is explored principally in the B section (usually the chief area for secondary- or tertiary-type sonorities). The tonality of the clos is not its only oddity. In all three stanzas the fourth and fifth lines of each stanza of the poem are part of the same semantic unit, which means that the clos creates a musical break which intrudes on the grammatical structure: in the first stanza it separates the verb from its direct object: "Nom pas quaie deservi nullement / Les douceurs quelle me fait." Given Machant's usual care to create mutually supporting poetic and musical structures, perhaps we should read a deliberate musical upsetting of the serenity of the speaker of the poem, who concludes a long melisma with the syllable "ment" (that is, "[s/he] lies") at every A section cadence. Alternatively, the unusual feature of a repeated tenor note between the clos and the start of the B section may be read as providing a musical connection that lessens the ungrammatical section break, becanse the B section starts with another d sonority--D/aa. In performance the tenor could simply hold this note across the section break, allowing the cantus singer to proceed without even taking a breath.

The sonority D/aa also resolves the B section last directed progression (m.30). Between these two framing D/aa sonorities occurs the only straightforward directed progression to D-d (m.28). The B section thus retrospectively establishes the clos tenor tone D as a tonal center. This may well foster a different aural perspective on the A sections of subsequent stanzas whose several c#s can be heard to emphasize d as a linear center (tenor m. 14, cantus measures 180, 23 and 27).

B14: The Lady Praises Love for Giving Her Merci

The poetic texts of Esperance (B13) and Je ne cuit pas (B14) explore two aspects of merci (see figure 2). The male lover of B13, reassured by Hope and enriched by Love, awaits the grace of Love and of his dame in the shape of her merci. As Brownlee comments, "the dame is not synonymous with her merci"; (21) Machaut's music encourages us instead to connect merci directly with Esperance, by virtue of their almost identical music. In Je ne cuit pas (B14) the feminine-voiced je praises Love for bestowing her goods so generously. Although the lady of B14 claims already to enjoy merci and B13's lover merely awaits it, both receive the same kinds of riches from Love, partly because the kind of merci enjoyed by the lady of B14 is the noble souffissance of simply seeing and hearing "mon cuer mamour et quanque je desir." Although the lady tells of Love's gifts without mentioning a lover directly, the refrain text can be seen as synonymous with her "amis," as in Letter 18 of the Voir Dit when Toute Belle uses the exact same appellation to address Guillaume. (22) In Letter 18 Toute Belle affirms her love in the face of Guillaume's doubts and arranges the very visit discussed above. Guillaume receives her letter while he is at Crecy and glosses it in a narrative that tells of how there is no horse so fine, no knight so brave, nor any woman so beautiful that bad behavior, cowardice, and loss of good name, respectively, would not tarnish them. He praises "bonte" (goodness or virtue) over "biaute" (the latter of which, in a couplet marked by "nota," is considered one of Nature's lesser favors) and vows never to cause a woman to lose her honor. That the only honorable form of merci is the sweet look and fair welcome which the lover of B13 is reassured of obtaining by Hope, and which the je of B14 receives simply in seeing and hearing her amis, seems borne out by the narrative progress of the Voir Dit in which Toute Belle's "renom" turns into the infamy of the "fame" (woman) Fortune, to whom her erstwhile lover eventually compares her. (23) Machaut advocates simply seeing and hearing the lover as the honorable form of merci, especially for a feminine-voiced je, an assertion confirmed by the occurrence of the phrase "veoir seulement et oir" together with a close paraphrase of the refrain of B14 in the Jugement dou Roy de Behaigne:
   Quen li estoit mesperance et ma joie
   Et mon plaisir
   Mon cuer mamour mon penser mon desir
   De tous les biens pooit mon cuer joir
   Par li veoir seulement et oir (24)

The grieving dame whose lover has died, epitomizes noble loving in the context of the dit.

B14, like B13, shares its musically prominent b-rhyme with B12. However, the two songs share no rhyme words and B14 extends the rhyme to the full leonine "-ement," emphasizing this extension by a long closing melisma (fittingly, in the first instance, for "largement") that mirrors the one for "Amours" at the start of same line (compare measures 8-10 and 15-19 in example 2). B14'S B section has a lack of congruence between lines and phrases mirroring that in the A section of B13. Like B13's A section, B14'S B section has the right number of phrases for the number of lines; it merely coordinates the two in a non-standard way. In the first stanza this produces a pseudo-c-rhyme ("-a") obscuring the real c-rhyme ("-ait"):
   Les doucours quelle me fait / Car gari ma (m.24)
   de tous maus | et retrait | / Quant elle ma (m.28)
   donne sans retollir
   (| = intervening rests; / = line end)

In the second stanza the central words "amours" and "joieuse" are emphasized; love is joyous even without merci since Hope is souffissance and therefore its own form of merci. In the third stanza this music emphasizes the central concept of merci, linking it to the two infinitive verb forms which define it, seeing and hearing, which themselves are linked by another kind of "-I" rhyme: "-ir." And the short phrases of measures 24-26 sound the vowel "-I" (in "qui ainsi"), the refrain rhyme of B13 and an important rhyme within the Loange sequence of which B14 forms a part.
   Damoureus cuer et parfait / Mais la merci
   qui einsi | me refait |/ cest de veoir
   seulement et oir

The linking of Hope, Love, and merci in a trio of honorable loving which leads to joy establishes one of the key themes of Machaut's courtly love doctrine. To love in hope of merci is souffissance, and as merci is nothing other than souffissance, Esperance is a self-sufficient loving that obviates the need for the dame's reciprocation. In addition to its place in the music section as the female side of a male-female diptych on joyful loving temporarily dispelling the poet's gloom of B12, B14 also occurs in the Loange as part of a sequence exploring a further aspect of merci. Its context there suggests that its music section pairing and its Loange placement are not a mindless duplication but may be meaningfully read against one another as mutually informing glosses.

The Loange Duplication of B14

The linking of the themes of B13 and B14 has relevance for the place of B14 within the Loange where it forms part of a series of lyrics Daniel Poirion identified as part of a group of twelve balades and a rondeau linked by the idea of "cuer" (L0165-177). (25) Below I extend this group to include Helas desirs (L0178) whose rhymes and themes differentiate it from the preceding sequence, but whose relationship with B13 lends it a summarizing and terminal role. Many of the balades in this sequence treat the situation of lovers' parting, either using the idea that the lover leaves his heart with his lady as a sustaining gift and goes away "sans cuer" or that he himself is nourished by the image of the lady inscribed in his heart by the action of Souvenirs and Dous Pensers. (26) The heart of the lover functions as "a record of personal memory." (27) When the lover is far from the lady, and thus can neither see nor hear her, Desire must be combated by Esperance and Dous Pensers in conjunction with Souvenirs. All three personifications, present in the final stanza of B13, explicitly sustain the lovers in the situation of absence central to the Loange sequence L0165-178. (28)

When the lady is far from the lover, even when the "distance" is that between the quick and the dead, Esperance provides consolation which avoids the usual male and female responses to grief. Machaut's poetry thereby contributes to social stability by stressing the (mental) image of the beloved as a supreme good, best accessed through private contemplation rather than through bodily contact. (29) Machaut improves his effectiveness as a professional poet both by dramatizing the speech of female characters within his narrative poems (as above in Behaigne), and by slipping into a feminine voice for certain key lyric moments which explore the lady's own relationship to Love and her definition of merci, as in B14/L0175.

Several adjacent lyrics in this sequence form pairs (sharing rhymes); others, not directly adjacent, share other significant text and/or rhymes. B14/L0175 is well integrated into the Loange sequence, sharing one rhyme with the immediately preceding balade (L0174) and two plus the phrase "veoir et oir" with Se coin je sueil (L0170). (30) And like B14/L0175, the only other female-voiced balade in this sequence, L0169, narrates the gifts that Love has given, referring to Love in the third person. In addition, the poems around L0175 display many of the formal features, shared themes, lexis, and rhyme words of its music section pair, B13. The balades in the Loange make notable use of B13's two most audible rhymes: "-i" and "-eil": for example, Ne cuidies pas (L0176), uses "-eil," B13's b-rhyme as its b-rhyme, has a feminized version of the same for its a-rhyme ("-eille") and a feminized version of B13's "-i" ("merci") c-rhyme ("-ie") for its c-rhyme; the two lyrics share four rhyme words ("vueil," "accueil," "recueil," and "dueil"). L0176 outlines the sorrow that leaving causes, describes the lady's peerless beauty and identifies desire as the cause of sorrow, a sorrow against which the consolation of Esperance in B13 may provide proof. L0176 functions as L0175's pair, showing formal resemblances to L0175/B14's pair in the music section, Esperance (B13), but delineating the complementary poetics of Desire. L0176's male-voiced incipit "ne cuidies pas" directly challenges the lady's opening in the music section version of L0175: "Je ne cuit pas." In the Loange this lyric uses part of "croire"---"Je ne croy pas"--so that only the music section version confirms the Loange pairing. Within the Loange itself, L0176 also links back to the opening balade of the series, L0165, which also has similarities with B13 (see figure 3). (31)


After L0165, the "-i" rhyme (which encapsulates the "merci" so desired by the lover) occurs in the next four lyrics (L0166-69), as well as in L0171-72; it is the refrain rhyme in L0172 and L0167. L0167 even uses B13's first "-i" rhyme word, "enrichi," as its refrain rhyme. In B13, Love who has so enriched the lover ("amours ma tant enrichi"); in L0167 God has enriched the lover's lady with goodness ("Pour la bonte dont diex la enrichi"). This idea of good renown is crucial when love is at a distance to defend against the action of the mesdisans. Of the twenty-four balades set to music in the earliest source, only B13 uses the word "bonte." That three of the Loange sequence to include B13's musical pair use "bonte" and two (LO166, LO167) place it in conjunction with "enrichi"--B13's first "-i" rhyme---is striking.

Virtually all of Machaut's key concepts are elaborated in this Loange sequence and the music section pair to which it relates via the duplicated B14/L0175. Lovers cope with parting because of the action of Dous Pensers and Souvenirs, the mental picture of the beloved, which enables the lover to hope for honorable merci (that is, seeing and hearing the beloved) even when they are far away. Hope removes the need for any real relationship with the lady--the lover's relationship is primarily with Love herself. Hope protects the lover against Desire and merci of a less honorable nature. This particular aspect is summarized in the last two balades of the Loange sequence, one of which is also duplicated in the music section.

Amours me fait (B19; example 3) appears in the Loange sequence, two items after L0175/B14 and with Helas desirs (L0178) forms a summary of the sequence as a whole: B19/L0177 is a complaint to Love; L0178 addresses Desirs directly and intimately, concluding that "Certes, trop ay en toy [Desire] dur anemy." Whilst B19 and B14, both duplicated between the music section and the Loange sequence discussed here, share a rhyme, specifically musical features contribute most significantly to their relatedness. The two pieces are remarkably similar in their first twelve measures. They have the same mensuration, share much rhythmic-melodic material and have measure for measure similarities of material, especially in mm.5-7 where B19'S tenor resembles B14'S cantus, and vice versa. Like B14, B19'S ouvert and clos lack a directed progression cadence in the cantus and tenor and B19's ouvert resembles B14'S clos.

The opening word of B19 is "Amours"--Love makes the lover desire and love so that he is unable to hope or think. Both "desirer / Et amer" and "esperer / Ne penser" have the same music, paralleling the cause of grief (desire) and its cure (hope). Musically, Love makes the singer desire as well. The counterpoint setting the opening word, "Amours," forces the singer to perform a very unusual melodic interval at the outset of the piece, from G to c#, offering a strange bisection of the overall G to g octave range of the first phrase. This c# has contrapuntal "appetite," or "desire," for resolution to d. B19'S lover endures such obduracy that he fears he will not last much longer, since desire makes his love burn so much that he forgets everything but her and thus languishes without tasting joy, and will die if Love does not soon agree that he should have "it" without asking. The gift he might have without asking is ostensibly the first stanza's "joie," but elision of the pronoun means that could also be his lady, her merci, Love, Hope, and that which he desires. This parallels B14's refrain, which the opening of B19's B section musically resembles (cf. B19 m.18 and B14 mm.33-34) in which Love has given the lady "mon cuer mamour et quanque je desir." This is merci by any other name, and, for B19'S male lover, shows a conceptual slippage of the desired object from the lady, to Love, to Hope, and to merci, the receipt of which (unlike the receipt of the lady herself) depends solely on the lover's own attitude. (32)

Machaut's solution is to love with hope to combat desire, since hope of merci can be sustained in the absence of its actualization through the action of mental imaging. Not gaining the thing which is desired (the lady, her love, her merci) causes pain that can only be cured by gaining that which is desired or, Machant suggests, by the consolation of Esperance. (33) Hope brings the mental image of future fulfillment into the present and makes it suffice. Hope's ability to conceptualize the goodness of the lady now brings about the peace of mind and happiness whose good effects release the lover from desire. Since that which suffices is merci, Hope is able to cure the lover's amorous malady without him actually gaining that which he desired formerly, by replacing it with his own relationship to a mental image of the lady as a supreme good and a primary relationship with Hope embodied as a woman. This is achieved by collapsing the figures of the lady herself, and Hope personified as such a lady. Early in the Remede the lover digresses into praise of his lady, expressing lack of surprise that because of her beauty he has ended up in such a state. His description virtually paraphrases part of L0176 (see figure 4)- Both lovers are in a similarly parlous state due to the action of desire stimulated by the beauty of the lady. In the third person Remede version, the 1over is passive and the lady turns her look on him. In the addressed version of the Loange he more actively sees her, pinpointing the difference between the not as yet fully fledged lover in the Remede (who is too fearful to approach his lady) and the lover of the Loange. Later, the lover of the Remede describes Hope in similar terms:
   ... Mes je vi seoir
   Delez moy la plus belle dame
   Qu'onques mes veisse, par m'ame,
   Fors ma dame tant seulement.
   Car tant estoit parfaitement
   Belle, gent, et bien acesmee,
   Que se Dieus de ses mains fourmee
   L'eust; sestoit elle d'asfaire
   Bel, bon, gent, doulz, et debonnaire.
   Mes il ne me fu mie avis,
   Quant je l'esgardai vis a vis,
   Que ce fust creature humaine
   De li, ne qu'elle fust mondeinne,
   Dont j'avoie moult grant merveille;
   Car sa face blanche et vermeille
   Par juste compas faite a point
   Si que mesfacon n'i ot point,
   Si clerement resplandissoit
   Que sa clarte esclarcissoit
   Les tenebres, la nuit obscure
   De may doloureuse aventure ... (34)

As Huot comments, one of the functions of this passage is to mirror both the arrival of Philosophy in The Consolations of Philosophy and the effects of Douz Regarz in the Rose, thereby presenting Esperance as "a fusion of Boethian and courtly models, offering not only philosophical but poetic consolation." (35) The lover may easily transfer his thoughts of love and loyalty to Hope when she is embodied as a lady with the same characteristics that his dame has, but without his dame's ability to initiate the burning of desire through a glance.

In short, this is the remedy presented in the Remede de Fortune which rewrites Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy as the "Consolation of Hope." The Lai in Remede is the lover's initial love service to the lady which initiates the action (through his inability to own up to his authorship) as his lady forces him to read it to her, against his will. Its fifth stanza resonates with B13, L0165 and L0176 (see figure 4). (36) At this point in Remede, before he has been schooled and comforted by Hope, the lover places his happiness in a future when he will receive merci from his lady; in the present he can only surfer. In the course of Remede the focus shifts to Hope of merci which, using the mental image of Souvenir can be possessed without dependence on external events. (37) Musically, the parallel is also explicit. The musical meter of the Lai is triple, like that of B13 and B14; this stanza's tonal organization, with a in the ouvert and G in the clos is, as in both B13 and B14, a similarity increased by the use of the same ficta notes, F# and c# (see example 4). The lover in Remede becomes, like the lover in B13, reassured by Hope of merci without actually receiving anything other than, as B14'S lady puts it, "seeing and hearing" the love object. This "seeing and hearing" especially its remote access by means of souvenirs, is the only form that merci can take and still preserve the "bonte" of the lady. It removes the satisfaction of desire from the physical and interactive realm and places it within a distinctly spiritual self-sufficient realm, which not only makes it easier for an individual lover to achieve but also keeps it socially safe, replacing acts with thoughts and interaction with contemplation. (38)



I would like to thank Sylvia Huot and Suzannah Clark for their comments on earlier drafts of this article.

(1) See Wulf Arlt, "Aspekte der Chronologie und des Stilwandels im franzosischen Lied des 14. Jahrhunderts," Aktuelle Fragen der musikbezogenen Mittelalterforschung: Texte zu einem Basler Kolloquium des Jahres 1975 (Winterthur: Amadeus, 1982) 193-280. Numbering of musical items reflects that in the standard bibliography for the composer, Lawrence Earp, Guillaume de Machaut: a Guide to Research. Garland Composer Resource Manuals, vol. 36 (New York and London: Garland, 1995).

(2) See Sylvia Huot, From Song to Book: The Poetics of Writing in Old French Lyric and Lyrical Narrative Poetry (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987) chapters 7-8.

(3) Jacqueline Cerquiglini, "Un engin si soutil": Guillaume de Machaut et l'ecriture au XIVe siecle. Bibliotheque du XVe siecle, vol. 47 (Geneve: Slatkine, 1985) 62.

(4) For editions of these poems and their music sec.

(5) Kevin Brownlee, "Literary Intertextualities in the Esperance Series: Machaut's {Esperance qui m'asseure, the Anonymous Rondeau En attendant d'avoir, Senleches En attendant esperance conforte," Musik als Text: Bericht uber den Internationalen Kongress der Gesellschafl fur Musikforschung Freiburg im Breisgau 1993 (Kassel: Barenreiter, 1998) 311-13.

(6) See Douglas Kelly, Medieval Imagination: Rhetoric and Poetry of Courtly Love (Madison: University Wisconsin Press, 1978). See also Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet, The Color of Melancholy: The Uses of Books in the Fourteenth Century, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), for exploration of the tension between the professional poet's status and his poetry.

(7) See Guillaume de Machaut, "The Prologue," The Fountain of Love (La fonteinne amoureuse) and Two Other Love Vision Poems, ed. R. Barton Palmer (New York and London: Garland, 1993) 2-19.

(8) This need to transform even sorrow into joy is one of the key effects of Hope on the loving subject. This subject has been elaborated upon recently by Sylvia Huot, "Guillaume de Machaut and the Consolation of Poetry." Paper presented at Guillaume de Machaut: Image, Text, Music, Oxford 2001. I am extremely grateful to Sylvia Huot for sending me a prepublication version of this paper which will appear in a future issue of Romance Philology.

(9) "Et merci nest autre chose que souffisance," Guillaume de Machaut: Le livre dou voir dit (The Book of the True Poem), ed. Daniel Leech-Wilkinson and R. Barton Palmer, vol. 106 (New York and London: Garland, 1998) 94.

(10) Ibid., 254, lines 3814-26.

(11) Ibid., 254, lines 3859-64.

(12) Voir Dit (ed. Leech-Wilkinson and Palmer), 270-71 lines 4146-51.

(13) Ibid., 270-71, lines 4158-69. Its reliance on Venus and phallic imagery (the sword as phallus and Dangier's head as maidenhead) is reminiscent of the most explicit of the endings of the Roman de la Rose in which the lover inserts his staff into an aperture; see Kevin Brownlee, "Pygmalion, Mimesis, and the Multiple Endings of the Roman de la Rose," Yale French Studies 95 (1999): 193-211.

(14) Pitches will be identified using the Guidonian:
   grave            acute                superacute
   [GAMMA]ABCDEFG   a bfabmi c d e f g   aa bb

The note c in the acute register corresponds to "middle C'" on a piano. The note bfabmi I will cite using modern accidental signs as either b or simply b.

It is noticeable that 5 of the 7 lines in each stanza start with a unison sonority; whether this might reflect the unitary self-sufficiency that a lover enjoys with Esperance is difficult to assess without a more developed understanding of the possible semantics of musical gestures at this period. It is probably available as a reading here.

(15) The coordination of text and music suggested by the sources is supported by musical logic: unison sonorities start all lines except 5 and 7 (which both have starts with tenths comprising pitch classes A and F). However, there could be a case for a slightly different segmentation of line 4 in the second stanza and line 2 in the third where it makes little sense to break up words between phrases. The repeated ds in the cantus at the end of phrase 1 (m.5) could curry "tousjours" and "biaute" respectively, leaving only three syllables ("faire vueil" and "sans orgueil," respectively in the melismatic second phrase, as indicated here. Only the first stanza is underlaid with text in the MS. Arlt however, explains these repeated notes as notating a change to imperfect rime, major mode without the need for coloration, see Arlt, "Aspekte der Chronologie," 244-45.

(16) The parallel between the second phrases of the A and B sections is more visible in the readings of G; see Arlt, "Aspekte der Chronologie," 246-47.

(17) The full text is published in Gaston Raynaud, ed. Recueil de motets francais des XIIe et XIIIe siecles, 2 vols. (Paris: E Vieweg, 1881-83) vol. 2, 32-33. As Douce 308 is an unnotated chansonnier it is not possible to ascertain whether the refrain represents a musical as well as textual quotation, although this seems likely. Its longer note values, retrospectively revealing its key role in the harmonic generation of the song, resemble the case in B I 2, the only sang known to be quoting text and music together.

(18) See Arlt, "Aspekte der Chronologie," 240.

(19) Although the Prologue was probably written after B13 (since it first appears in MS A (early 1370S), whereas B13 is in C (before 1356) its summary/introductory role at the head of the collection makes its retrospective "anticipation" of the key elements in the courtly world that follows unsurprising.

(20) This latter similarity is repeated between B13 m.14 and B14 m.38.

(21) Brownlee, "Literary Intertexualities," 311.

(22) Voir Dit (ed. Leech-Wilkinson and Palmer), 232-34, lines 3537-38.

(23) See Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet, "Fama et les Preux: Nom et Renom a la Fin du Moyen Age," Medievales 24 (spring 1993): 34-44. Toute Belle breaks all of the edicts laid down for feminine honor in Machaut's balade Honte paour (B25).

(24) James I. Wimsatt, William W. Kibler. and Rebecca A. Baltzer, eds., Guillaume de Machaut: Le Jugement du Roy de Behaigne and Remede de Fortune (Athens GA: University of Georgia Press, 1988) 67, lines 151-55 (my emphasis). It should be noted that Hope and Joy here echoes the pairing of these concepts in B13, as well as in the Prologue; see Arlt, "Aspekte der Chronologie," 240.

(25) Daniel Poirion, Le poete et le prince: l'evolution du lyrisme courtois de Guillaume de Machaut d Charles d'Orleans (Grenoble: impr. Allier, x 965) 521 n. 45

(26) For a history of the heart as a wax tablet see Eric Jager, The Book of the Heart (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000) especially chapter 4, subsection "Making an Impression," 69-71. The image of the heart of a youth as a wax tablet is presented explicitly at the opening of the Remede (lines 23-34).

(27) Jager, The Book of the Heart, 70.

(28) The connection between Esperance and Dous Pensers is established in the Roman de la Rose (ed. Strubel), pp. 184-87, lines 2613-64.

(29) See Huot "Guillaume de Machaut."

(30) This phrase is only used in rive lyrics: B14, L018, L032, L0142 and L0170. Bl4'S definition of merci as seeing and hearing the beloved clarifies that L0170's lover desires merci without his using the term.

(31) The only "-eil" rhyme of L0165 not in B13 i s "sueil," one of the rhyme words of B12. The "-eil" rhyme words of B12 which are not in B13 are all in L0165. The "-eil" rhyme words of these three lyrics thus forma closed set.

(32) As B14's refrain line signifies amis, the lover himself (amis) is merci to the lady and, by implication, the lover himself is merci to himself, since he is able to love in self-sufficiency (souffissance being merci) and to experience joy without change in his external circumstances.

(33) Huot, "Guillaume de Machaut."

(34) Ibid., 251, 253.

(35) Huot, "Guillaume de Machaut."

(36) See William Calin. A Poet at the Fountain: Essays on the Narrative Verse of Guillaume de Machaut, Studies in Romance Languages, vol. 9 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1974) 71, 73.

(37) See also Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet, "Ecrire le temps. Le lyrisme de la dur6e aux XIVe et XVe siecles." Le temps et la duree sans la litterature au Moyen Age et a la Renaissance. Actes du colloque organise par le Centre de Recherche sur la Litterature du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance de l'Universite de Reims (novembre, 1984), ed. Yvonne Bellenger (Paris: Nizet, 1986) 103-14.

(38) The Remede and its lai are also discussed in Huot, "Guillaume de Machant." My conclusion here draws support from Huot's, which results from an impressive reading of the narrative poems, particularly Navarre and Confort. She concludes that Machant promotes a love that is important "hot in communication with a particular individual but in communion with a sovereign perfection" and that this "in a very real sense contributes to the stability of both the individual and the community."

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Author:Leach, Elizabeth Eva
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Date:Jan 1, 2003
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