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Medieval Music Database

On ne porroit penser ne souhaidier

ballade by Guillaume de Machaut


New York: Wildenstein Collection, fol. 2 (text), 297v (3/1);
Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 843, fol. 168v (text), 237v (text); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 881 (olim 7235), fol. 99 (text); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1584 (MachA), fol. 178 (text), 455 (3/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1585 (MachB), fol. 2 (text), 297v (3/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1586 (MachC), fol. 122 (text), 158v (3/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1587 (olim 612), fol. 2 (text); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 9221 (MachE), fol. 1v (text), 148v (3/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 22546 (MachG), fol. 134v (3/1).


1. Guillaume de Machaut: Musikalische Werke. Erster Band: Balladen, Rondeaux und Virelais, edited by Friedrich Ludwig, Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1926, p. 3.
2. The Works of Guillaume de Machaut, Second Part, edited by Leo Schrade, Monaco: Editions de L'Oiseau-Lyre, 1956. Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century III, p. 72.
3. La Louange des Dames, edited by Nigel Wilkins, Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1972, New York: Barnes and Noble, 1973, p. 149 (NYw).

Text Editions

Guillaume de Machaut: poésies lyriques, 2 vols., edited by V. Chichmaref, Paris: 1909, p. 23.


1. MACHABEY, Armand. Guillaume de Machault, 130?-1377: La vie et l'oeuvre musicale, 2 vols, Paris: Richard-Masse-Editeur, 1955. Bibliothèque d'études musicales, pp. 20-21.
2. GÜNTHER, Ursula. Der musikalische Stilwandel der französischen Liedkunst in der zweiten Hälfte des 14. Jahrhunderts, dargestelt an Virelais, Balladen und Rondeax von Machaut., Ph.D. dissertation, University of Hamburg: 1957, Chapter 4.1.
3. MARTINEZ, Marie L. Die Musik des frühen Trecento, Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 1963. Münchener Veröffentlichungen zur Musikgeschichte 9.
4. REANEY, Gilbert. 'Notes on the harmonic technique of Guillaume de Machaut', Essays in Musicology: A Birthday Offering for Willi Apel, edited by Hans Tischler, Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University School of Music, 1968, pp. 63-65.
5. SALOP, Arnold. 'The secular polyphony of Guillaume de Machaut', [chapter 2 of his] Studies on the History of Musical Style, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1971, pp. 55-56.
6. GÜNTHER, Ursula. 'Zitate in französischen Liedsätzen der Ars nova und Ars subtilior', Musica Disciplina, XXVI (1972), pp. 53-54.
7. DÖMLING, Wolfgang. 'Aspekte der Sprachvertonung in den Balladen Guillaume de Machauts', Die Musikforschung, XXV/3 (1972), pp. 304-305.
8. SWARTZ, Anne. 'A new chronology of the ballades of Machaut', Acta Musicologica, XLVI (1974): 192-207.
9. LEGUY, Sylvette. 'Les procédés de composition dans l'oeuvre de Machaut (à l'exclusion de la Messe)', Guillaume de Machaut, poète et compositeur. Colloque - Table Ronde, 1978, pp. 307-320.
10. GÜNTHER, Ursula. 'Contribution de la musicologie à la biographie et à la chronologie de Guillaume de Machaut', Guillaume de Machaut, poète et compositeur. Colloque - Table Ronde, 1978, pp. 95-116.
11. BENT, Margaret. 'The Machaut manuscripts Vg, B and E', Musica Disciplina, XXXVII (1983), p. 79.


1. Laudario di Cortona: Laudes from the Codex 91 of the Etruscan Academy of Cortona, Quartetto polifonico italiana: Ars Nova VST 6113 (ITA).
2. Laudario 91 di Cortone, Soloists, chorus and orchestra of the Società cameristica di, directed by Edwin Loehrer (1962): Cycnus 9031 (FRA).
3. Gregorian Chants from Assisi. Vol. I: Medieval Lauds., Coro della Cappella Papale di San Francesco d'Assisi, directed by Padre Maestro Alfonso Del Ferraro (1966): Deutsche Grammophon Privilege 2726 004 (2 discs).


On ne porroit penser ne souhaidier
Mieus qu'en celle que j'aim de fine amour.
Car il n'a riens en li a reprochier.
Eins est parfaite et souvereinne flour
De quanqu'il faut a dame de valour.
S'en lo Amours d'umble volente pure.
Quant j'aim la flour de toute creature.

Si n'en puis mais, se je l'aim et tien chier;
Car il n'est maus, tristesse ne dolour
Qui se peust en mon cuer herbergier.
Eins sui toudis en joie et en baudour;
Neis de penser a sa fine doucour
Preng soustenance et douce norriture;
Quant j'aim la flour de toute creature.

Et quant je vif en si plaisant dangier
Que mon cuer maint en si noble sejour
Et je la serf, sans muer ne changier.
Tres loyaument de toute ma vigour.
Certes bien doy amer l'heure et le jour
Que je senti l'amoureuse pointure.
Quant j'aim la flour de toute creature.


None could imagine or wish for better
Than what is in her whom I love with tender feeling.
For in her there is nothing to reproach;
Rather she is the perfect and sovereign flower
Of whatever is needful in a noble lady.
So I praise Love with pure and humble intent.
Since I love the flower of all creatures.

So I can do no more than love and cherish her.
For there is no ill, sadness or pain
Which could lodge in my heart;
Rather I am always joyful and happy.
Simply by thinking on her delicate sweetness
I take sustenance and sweet nourishment.
Since I love the flower of all creatures.

And since I live in such pleasing captivity
That my heart rests in such a noble lodging
And I serve her, without altering or changing.
Most loyally with all my strength.
Indeed I must love well the hour and the day
When I felt the sting of love.
Since I love the flower of all creatures.

Text revision and translation © Jennifer Garnham

Content Approved by: MMDB Director
Last updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2003

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