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Medieval Music Database

Ay mi! dame de valour

monophonic virelai by Guillaume de Machaut


New York: Wildenstein Collection, fol. 323 (1/1);
Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 843 (text); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1584 (MachA), fol. 482v (1/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1585 (MachB), fol. 321 (1/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1586 (MachC), fol. 149v (1/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 9221 (MachE), fol. 161v (1/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 22546 (MachG), fol. 155 (1/1).


1. Guillaume de Machaut: Musikalische Werke. Erster Band: Balladen, Rondeaux und Virelais, edited by Friedrich Ludwig, Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1926, p. 71.
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. 168.
3. Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377), p. 2.

Text Editions

Guillaume de Machaut: poésies lyriques, 2 vols., edited by V. Chichmaref, Paris: 1909, p. 583.


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. 177-178.
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 4.3.
3. REANEY, Gilbert. 'The Middle Ages', [in] A History of Song, edited by Denis Stevens, 2nd edition, New York: W. W. Norton, 1970, p. 33.
4. DÖMLING, Wolfgang. Die mehrstimmigen Balladen, Rondeaux und Virelais von Guillaume de Machaut: Untersuchungen zum musikalischen Satz, Tutzing: Schneider, 1970. Münchener Veröffentlichungen zur Musikgeschichte 16, p. 49., p. 49.
5. ARLT, Wulf. 'Aspekte der Chronologie und des Stilwandels im französischen Lied des 14. Jahrhunderts', Forum Musicologicum (Aktuelle Fragen der musikbezogenen Mittelalterforschung), vol. III, Basel: Amadeus Verlag, 1975, pp. 266-267.
6. 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.
7. LITTLE, Patrick. 'The poet and the duke: a comparison of Machaut and Duke Ellington songs', Early Music, XI/2 (1983), p. 218.


1. Guillaume de Machaut. Chansons I, Early Music Studio, directed by Thomas Binkley (1972): EMI-Reflexe 1C063-30-106 (GER)/ 1C-163-30-101/6 (GER).
2. Guillaume de Machaut: 1. The Musical Art of Machaut. 2. Le Remède de Fortune. 3. Veoir Dit., Ensemble Guillaume de Machaut of Paris (1975-1977): Adés 7078 (3 discs).
3. The Spirits of England and France, Gothic Voices, directed by Christopher Page (1994): Hyperion CDA66739.


Ay mi! dame de valour
Que j'aim et desir.
De vous me vient la dolour
Qui me fait languir.

Tres douce creature.
Comment puet vo fine doucour
Estre vers moy si dure.
Quant mon cuer, mon corps et m'amour
Vous ay donne sans retour
Et sans repentir?
Or me tenez en langour
Dont je criem morir.

Ay mi! dame de valour...

Ay mi! dame de valour...

Et tout par amesure.
Gentil dame, pleinne d'onnour.
Sui je a desconfiture;
Car onques ne quis deshonnour
Vers vous, ains ay sans sejour
Fait vo dous plaisir
Et feray sans mauvais tour
Jusques au morir.

Ay mi! dame de valour...

Ay mi! dame de valour...

Mais vo douce figure.
Vo fine biaute que j'aour
Et vo noble faiture
Paree de plaisant atour
En plour tiennent nuit et jour.
Sans joie sentir.
Mon cuer qui vit en tristour.
Dont ne puet garir.

Ay mi! dame de valour...


Ah me! worthy lady
Whom I love and desire.
From you comes the pain
Which makes me languish.

Most gentle creature.
How can your tender sweetness
Be so hard towards me.
When my heart, my body and my love
I have given you without reward
And without regret?
Now you keep me in langour
Of which I fear I will die.

Ah me! worthy lady...

Ah me! worthy lady...

And all through my restraint.
Noble lady, full of honour.
I am in distress;
For never did I seek dishonour
On you, rather without rest
I have done your sweet pleasure
And will do without false deeds
Until I die.

Ah me! worthy lady...

Ah me! worthy lady...

But your sweet face.
Your delicate beauty which I adore
And your noble features
Adorned with pleasing attire
Hold my heart in tears night and day.
Without any feeling of joy.
My heart lives in sadness
From which it can never be cured.

Ah me! worthy lady...

Text revision and translation © Jennifer Garnham

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

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