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Medieval Music Database

Quant en moy vint; Amour et biautT parfaite; Amara valde

Three-voice motet by Guillaume de Machaut


Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales, MS NLW 5010C (Bourdillon 10), fol. 74 (3/1) fragment of triplum only;
New York: Wildenstein Collection, fol. 260v (3/2);
Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1584 (MachA), fol. 414v (3/2); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1585 (MachB), fol. 258v (3/2); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 1586 (MachC), fol. 206v (3/2); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 9221 (MachE), fol. 131v (3/2); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français 22546 (MachG), fol. 102v (3/2).


WOLF, Johannes. Geschichte der Mensural-Notation von 1250-1460 nach den theoretischen und praktischen Quellen, 3 vols., Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1904. [reprinted Hildesheim: G. Olms, 1965], p. 65 (Pn22546, diplomatic).


1. WOLF, Johannes. Geschichte der Mensural-Notation von 1250-1460 nach den theoretischen und praktischen Quellen, 3 vols., Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1904. [reprinted Hildesheim: G. Olms, 1965], Vol. III, p. 28 (Pn22546).
2. Guillaume de Machaut: Musikalische Werke. Dritter Band: Motetten, edited by Friedrich Ludwig, Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1929, p. 2.
3. The Works of Guillaume de Machaut, First Part, edited by Leo Schrade, Monaco: Editions de L'Oiseau-Lyre, 1956. Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century II, p. 108.

Text Editions

Guillaume de Machaut: poésies lyriques, 2 vols., edited by V. Chichmaref, Paris: 1909, p. 483.


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. 63-68.
2. REICHERT, Georg. 'Das Verhältnis zwischen musikalischer und textlicher Struktur in den Motetten Machauts', Archiv für Musikwissenschaft, XIII (1956): 197ff.
3. 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 4.5.
4. SANDERS, Ernest. 'The mediaeval motet', Gattungen der Musik in Einzeldarstellungen: Gedenkschrift Leo Schrade, Erste Folge, Bern, Munich: 1971, pp. 497-573.
5. NEWES, Virginia E. 'Imitation in the Ars nova and Ars subtilior', Revue belge de musicologie, XXXI (1977): 38-59.
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.
8. NEWES, Virginia E. 'The relationship of text to imitative technique in 14th century polyphony', Musik und Text in der Mehrstimmigkeit des 14. und 15. Jahrhunderts, edited by U. Günther and L. Finscher, Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1984, pp. 121-154.


1. Guillaume de Machault. Balladen - Motetten - Rondeaus - Virelais, Capella Lipsiensis, directed by Dietrich Knothe (1971): Philips 6580 026.
2. Guillaume de Machaut. Chansons II, Early Music Studio, directed by Thomas Binkley (1973): EMI-Reflexe IC063-30-109 (GER)/ IC163-30-107/12 (GER).
3. 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).



Quant en moy vint premierement
Amours, si tres doucettement
me vost mon cuer enamourer
que d'un resgart me fist present.
et tres amoures sentement
me donna aveuc doulz penser.
espoir d'avoir Merci sans refuser.
Mais onques en tout mon vivant
Hardement ne me vost donner;
et si me fait en desirant
penser si amoureusement
que, par force de desirer.
ma joie convient en tourment
muer, se je n'ay hardement.
Las! et je n'en puis recouvrer.
qu'Amours secours ne me wet nul prester.
qui en ses las si durement
me tient que n'en puis eschaper;
ne je ne weil, qu'en atendant
sa grace je weil humblement
toutes ces doleurs endurer.
Et s'Amours loyal se consent
que ma douce dame au corps gent
me weille son ami clamer.
je scay, de vray que aray, sans finer.
joie qu'Amours a fin amant
doit pour ses maus guerredonner.
Mais elle atent trop longuement
et j'aimme si follettement
que je n'oze merci rouver.
car j'aim mieus vivre en esperant
d'avoir merci procheinnement
que Refus me veingne tuer.
Et pour ce di en souspirant:
Grant folie est de tant amer
que de son doulz face on amer.


Amour et biautT parfaite
me font parfaitement
et vrais desirs, qui m'a faite
de vous.
cuer doulz.
amer sans finement.
Et quant j'aim si finement.
vous pri
car ele me soit faite.
sans vostre honnour amenrir.
car j'aim mieus einssi languir
et morir, s'il vous agree.
que par moy fust empiree
vostre honnour, que tant desir.
ne de fait ne de pensee.



When Love first came to me so very sweetly.
my heart - which, by a look.
made me a presentation.
and gave me a very amorous feeling.
Hope to have Pity without refusal.
together with a sweet thought -
wanted me to fall in love.
But never in all my life
did She want to give me courage.
And thus, by desiring.
She made me think so amorously that.
by the strength of desire.
my joy must change to torment.
if I do not have courage.
Alas! and I cannot obtain that Love.
who holds me so firmly in Her grasp
that I cannot escape.
would wish to provide me with help.
Nor do I want to escape.
for by waiting for Her grace.
I wish humbly to endure all these pains.
And if loyal Love consents
that my sweet lady with the beautiful body
wishes to call me her love.
I know, in truth, that I will have unending joy.
with which Love should recompense
a true lover for his pains.
But She waits too long.
and I love so madly
that I dare not ask for mercy.
for I prefer to live in hope
of soon having mercy
that that Refusal would come to kill me.
And for this reason, sighing I say:
It is great folly to love so much
that one makes bitterness from one's grief.


Love and perfect beauty
and true desire.
which has made me.
sweet heart.
love [you]
without end.
make me fear
and withhold perfectly.
And since I love you
so truly.
I beg you for mercy.
for I will have it
without diminishing your honour;
for I prefer to languish thus.
and die, if it please you.
than that through me your honour.
which I desire so much.
be impaired either by deed or by thought.

Text revision and translation © Robyn Smith

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

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