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Medieval Music Database

Dieus, Biaute, Douceur, Nature

virelai by Guillaume de Machaut


New York: Wildenstein Collection, fol. 328v (1/1);
Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 843 (text); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1584 (MachA), fol. 487v (1/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1585 (MachB), fol. 326v (1/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1586 (MachC), fol. 155v (1/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 9221 (MachE), fol. 160v (1/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 22546 (MachG), fol. 158v (1/1);
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Library, French MS 15, number 210 (text).


The Manuscript London, British Museum Add. 29987, facsimile edition by Gilbert Reaney, [n.p.]: American Institute of Musicology, 1965. Musicological Studies and Documents 13, (Lo64v-67).


1. Guillaume de Machaut: Musikalische Werke. Erster Band: Balladen, Rondeaux und Virelais, edited by Friedrich Ludwig, Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1926, p. 79.
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. 178.
3. Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377), p. 10.

Text Editions

Guillaume de Machaut: poésies lyriques, 2 vols., edited by V. Chichmaref, Paris: 1909, p. 603.


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. 186.
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. 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. 48.
4. PLANCHE, Alice. 'Le langage poétique de Guillaume de Machaut', Guillaume de Machaut, poète et compositeur. Colloque - Table Ronde, 1978, pp. 195-214.
5. 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.


Dieus, Biaute, Douceur, Nature
Mirent bien toute leur cure
En vo douce pourtraiture.
Dame desiree.
Car tant est plaisant et pure.
Saige en port, belle en figure.
Qu'eins plus gente creature
De vous ne fu nee.

Trop bien estes comparee
Au printemps qui tant agree
Et tant a puissance.
Qu'en li douceur est trouvee.
Verdour, fleur, fruit et rousee
Et toute plaisance.
Einssi vo bonte seure
Rent joie et bonne aventure;
C'est l'ente ou tous biens meure.
De tous est amee.
Tout resjoit, tout ranature.
Cuer sec remet en verdure
Et fait de tristesse obscure
Joieuse pensee.

Dieus, Biaute, Douceur, Nature...

Dieus, Biaute, Douceur, Nature...

Aveuc ce vous est donnee
Si tres noble destinee
Qu'il n'est, sans doubtance.
Grace, tant soit affinee.
Qui devant vous ait duree.
Qu'en vostre presence
Biaute laidist et s'oscure.
Maniere n'i a mesure.
Douceur samble amere et sure -
Ja n'iert tant loee -
Joye y pert envoiseure
Et, a regarder droiture.
Tout samble ouevre de rasture
Qui soit empruntee.

Dieus, Biaute, Douceur, Nature...

Dieus, Biaute, Douceur, Nature...

Bonne, belle et bien paree.
De tres gentil renommee.
Mort ou aligence
De vo face coulouree.
Qui "tout passe" est appelee.
Atten; car sans lance
M'a fait douce blesseure
Vo simple regardeure.
Dont j'ay, sans plaie, pointure
Qui ja n'iert sanee
Se vo douceur ne la cure.
Qui m'est si doucement dure
Qu'elle art mon cuer, n'en l'ardure
N'a feu ne fumee.

Dieus, Biaute, Douceur, Nature...


God, Beauty, Sweetness and Nature
Put all their skill
Into your sweet image.
Most desired lady.
For so pleasing and pure it is.
Wise in behaviour, fair of face.
That never a lovelier creature
Than you was born.

Most rightly you are compared
To spring, which is so delightful
And has such power
That in it sweetness is found.
Verdure, flowers, fruits and dew
And every fair thing.
Thus your serene beauty
Gives joy and good fortune:
It is the branch on which ripen all good things.
It is loved by all.
It gives joy to all, it restores all.
It gives new life to dry hearts
And makes of sombre sadness
Joyous thoughts.

God, Beauty, Sweetness and Nature...

God, Beauty, Sweetness and Nature...

With all this there is given to you
Such a noble destiny
That without doubt, there is no
Grace, however refined.
Which can endure before you.
For in your presence
Beauty becomes ugly and dark.
Fair manners have no constraint.
Sweetness seems bitter and sour -
However much it is praised -
Joy loses its light-heartedness
And, to see the truth of it.
Everything seems made of fragments
That are borrowed.

God, Beauty, Sweetness and Nature...

God, Beauty, Sweetness and Nature...

Good lady, fair and well adorned.
Of most noble reknown.
Either death or relief
I await from your blushing face.
Which is called "above all".
For without a weapon
Your simple glance
Has given me a sweet injury.
From which, without a wound, I have a pain
Which will never be eased
If your sweetness does not cure it.
Which is so sweetly harsh to me
That it burns my heart, nor in the burning
Is there fire or smoke.

God, Beauty, Sweetness and Nature...

Text revision and translation © Jennifer Garnham

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

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