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Medieval Music Database

Mors sui, se je ne vous voy

virelai by Guillaume de Machaut


New York: Wildenstein Collection, fol. 331v (2/1);
Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 843 (text); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1584 (MachA), fol. 491 (2/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1585 (MachB), fol. 329v (2/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1586 (MachC), fol. 205v (1/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 9221 (MachE), fol. 161 (2/1); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 22546 (MachG), fol. 161 (2/1);
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Library, French MS 15, number 215 (text).


PARRISH, Carl. The Notation of Medieval Music, New York: W. W. Norton, 1957, plate XLVII (Pn9221).


1. Guillaume de Machaut: Musikalische Werke. Erster Band: Balladen, Rondeaux und Virelais, edited by Friedrich Ludwig, Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1926, p. 84.
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. 185.
3. Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377), p. 15.

Text Editions

Guillaume de Machaut: poésies lyriques, 2 vols., edited by V. Chichmaref, Paris: 1909, p. 617.


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. 191.
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. 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.
4. BOORMAN, Stanley. 'A new edition of Machaut', Early Music, V/4 (1977), p. 497.
5. WILKINS, Nigel. 'Virelai', The New Grove, XX (1980): 1-3.
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. BENT, Margaret. 'The Machaut manuscripts Vg, B and E', Musica Disciplina, XXXVII (1983), p. 70.


Mors sui, se je ne vous voy.
Dame d'onnour.
Car l'ardour
Qui ma dolour accroist en moy
M'occirra, si com je croy.
Pour vostre amour.

Si ne scay que faire doy.
Car riens de nulle part n'oy
Qui ma tristour
Esteingne ne mon anoy;
Et bien scay qu'onques mais n'oy
Tel ne gringnour;
Car tant sueffre et tant recoy
Painne et paour
Qu'ades plour.
Dont tels m'atour
Seuls en requoy.
Que je ne mengue ne boy
Riens par savour.

Mors sui, se je ne vous voy...

Mors sui, se je ne vous voy...

Helas! si ne say pour quoy
Pitez dort et Bonne Foy;
Car de mon plour
Desirs estanche sa soy
Et Souvenirs avec soy.
Qui sans sejour
Me monstrent vo bel arroy.
Vostre valour.
Vo doucour.
Vo cointe atour.
Vo maintieng quoy
Et font qu'a vous tout m'ottroy.
Sans deshonnour.

Mors sui, se je ne vous voy...

Mors sui, se je ne vous voy...

Dame, pour ce me desvoy.
Car quant en vous tous m'employ
Et je n'ay tour
Pour vous veoir, je y congnoy
Ma mort. S'en sui en tel ploy
Que sans retour
Mors sui, car moult bien parcoy
Que ma colour.
Ma vigour
Et ma baudour
Pers; et cil troy
Font qu'a vous mon cuer envoy.
Plus n'ai de jour.

Mors sui, se je ne vous voy...


I die, if I do not see you.
Honoured lady.
For the burning
Which increases my inner pain
Will kill me, I believe.
For love of you.

So I do not know what I should do.
For I hear nothing on any side
Which can extinguish
My sadness or my trouble;
And well I know that never did I hear
Of so great or greater distress;
For so much do I suffer and endure
Pain and fear
That I weep ceaselessly.
Therefore I so conduct myself
Alone and in secret.
That I neither eat nor drink
Anything with enjoyment.

I die, if I do not see you...

I die, if I do not see you...

Alas! I do not know why
Pity sleeps and Good Faith;
For with my tears
Desire quenches his thirst
And Remembrance with him.
Who without rest
Show me your fair adornment.
Your nobility.
Your softness.
Your dainty charms.
Your quiet bearing
And cause me to give myself entirely to you.
Without dishonour.

I die, if I do not see you...

I die, if I do not see you...

Lady, for this I lose my way.
For when I give myself wholly to serve you
And have no chance
To see you, I recognize in it
My death. So I am in such a plight
That for ever
I die, for too well I see
That my colour.
My strength
And my happiness
Are gone; and these three
Cause me to send my heart to you.
My days are done.

I die, if I do not see you...

Text revision and translation © Jennifer Garnham

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

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