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Medieval Music Database

En mon cuer a un descort

virelai by Guillaume de Machaut


New York: Wildenstein Collection, fol. 330v (2/1);
Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 843 (text); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1584 (MachA), fol. 490v (2/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1585 (MachB), fol. 328v (2/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 9221 (MachE), fol. 162 (2/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 22546 (MachG), fol. 160v (2/1).


1. Guillaume de Machaut: Musikalische Werke. Erster Band: Balladen, Rondeaux und Virelais, edited by Friedrich Ludwig, Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1926, p. 83.
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. 183.
3. Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377), p. 14.

Text Editions

Guillaume de Machaut: poésies lyriques, 2 vols., edited by V. Chichmaref, Paris: 1909, p. 613.


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. 189-190.
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. 'Guillaume de Machaut: lyric poet', Music and Letters, XXXIX (1958), p. 42.
4. 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. 73, 74.
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.


En mon cuer a un descort
Qui si fort le point et mort
Que, sans mentir.
S'Amours par son doulz plaisir
N'i met accort
Aveuc ma dame, pour mort
Me doy tenir.

C'est de mon loyal Desir
Qui me wet faire gehir
Le mal que port
Et comment j'aim et desir
Ma dame sans repentir
Et sans confort.
Mais Paour s'oppose fort
Et dit que Desirs a tort
De ce querir.
Qu'elle crient Refus oir
Qui pas ne dort
Et Dangiers qui fait a mort
L'amant venir.

En mon cuer a un descort...

En mon cuer a un descort...

Si ne say que devenir
Quant de ma dame remir
Le gentil port.
Car Paour me fait fremir
Et trambler et tressaillir
Par son enort
Et Desirs, san nul deport.
Fait mon cuer par son effort
Taindre et palir;
Biaute me vient assaillir.
Douceur m'endort.
Mais Amours me fait au fort
Taire et souffrir.

En mon cuer a un descort...

En mon cuer a un descort...

Las! einsi m'estuet languir.
Pleindre, plourer et gemir
En desconfort.
Ne bien n'ay fors souvenir.
Dous penser et li servir.
La me confort.
La seulement me deport.
La sont gete tuit mi sort
Et la me tir;
La weil je vivre et morir
Et la m'acort;
La seront tuit mi ressort
Jusqu'au morir.

En mon cuer a un descort...


In my heart there is a struggle
Which wounds and tears it so badly
That, without a lie.
If Love by his sweet pleasure
Does not make agreement
With my lady, I must consider
Myself as dead.

It is from my faithful Desire
Which wishes to make me confess
The wound I suffer
And how much I love and desire
My lady without regret
And without comfort.
But Fear is strongly opposed
And says that Desire is wrong
To seek this.
For she fears to hear Refusal
Who never sleeps.
And Rejection which brings
The lover to his death.

In my heart there is a struggle...

In my heart there is a struggle...

So I do not know what will become of me
When I admire my lady's
Noble bearing.
For Fear makes me shiver
And tremble and shake
By his suggestion.
And Desire, without any respite.
By its effort makes my heart
Change colour and grow pale;
Beauty comes to assail me.
Softness lulls me.
But Love most firmly makes me
Suffer in silence.

In my heart there is a struggle...

In my heart there is a struggle...

Alas! thus I must languish.
Lament, weep and groan
In wretchedness.
Nor do I have any good but memory.
Sweet thoughts and service of her.
There I am comforted.
There only do I rejoice.
There is cast all my fortune
And towards this I draw;
There I wish to live and die
And to this I assent;
There will be all my help
Until I die.

In my heart there is a struggle...

Text revision and translation © Jennifer Garnham

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

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