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Medieval Music Database

Se quanque amours puet donner a ami

ballade by Guillaume de Machaut


London: Westminster Abbey 21, fol. 20 (text);
New York: Wildenstein Collection, fol. 307 (4/1);
Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 843 (text); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1584 (MachA), fol. 474v (3/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1585 (MachB), fol. 305 (4/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1586 (MachC), fol. 200v (4/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 9221 (MachE), fol. 151v (4/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 22546 (MachG), fol. 141 (4/1).


1. Guillaume de Machaut: Musikalische Werke. Erster Band: Balladen, Rondeaux und Virelais, edited by Friedrich Ludwig, Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1926, p. 22.
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. 96.

Text Editions

Guillaume de Machaut: poésies lyriques, 2 vols., edited by V. Chichmaref, Paris: 1909, p. 552.


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, p. 34.
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, p. 20, Chapter 4.1.
3. 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. 45-46.
4. SWARTZ, Anne. 'A new chronology of the ballades of Machaut', Acta Musicologica, XLVI (1974): 192-207.
5. HIRSHBERG, Jehoash. 'Hexachordal and modal structure in Machaut's polyphonic chansons', Studies in Musicology in Honor of Otto E. Albrecht, 1980.
6. 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.
7. 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.


The Ars Nova: Vocal Music of 14-Century France and Italy, Capella Cordina, directed by Alejandro Planchart (1966): Expériences Anonymes EA/EAS 83.


Se quanque amours puet donner a ami
Et quanque cuers d'ami puet desirer
Et quanque dame y porroit mettre aussi
De bien, de pais, par loyaument amer.
Estoient entierement
En un seul cuer, je scay certeinnement
Qu'il sentiroit grief tristesse et esmay
Contre le bien et la joie que j'ay.

Car nulle fois de riens ne me defri.
Ne riens ne puet mon cuer desconforter.
Ains ay le temps si bon et si onni
Que je ne puis a nulle riens penser
Fors a joie seulement;
Et ce me fait vivre si liement
Que Leesse n'a cuer joieus ne gay
Contre le bien et la joie que j'ay.

Et tout pour ce que j'ay toudis en my
L'impression de ma dame sans per
Qui est empreinte et figuree en my
Mon loyal cuer qui l'aimme sans fausser
Si fort et si fermement
Qu'ades la voy vis a vis proprement;
Ne se peut riens comparer, bien le say.
Contre le bien et la joie que j'ay.


If all that love may give to a lover
And all that the heart of a lover may desire
And all that a lady could add to it
Of well-being, of peace, by loving loyally.
Were found completely
In a single heart, I know for certain
That that heart would feel great sadness and distress
Compared with the happiness and joy I feel.

For never do I burn with emotion about anything.
Nor can anything distress my heart.
Rather do I pass the time so well and peacefully
That I can think of nothing
But only of joy;
And this makes me live so happily
That Gladness herself does not have a joyful or happy heart
Compared with the happiness and joy I feel.

And all this is because I have always in me
The impression of my peerless lady
Who is imprinted and depicted at the centre
Of my loyal heart which loves her without deceit
So strongly and surely
That I always see her clearly face to face;
Nor can anything, I know well, be
Compared with the happiness and joy I feel.

Text revision and translation © Jennifer Garnham

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

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