Manuscripts and Special Collections

WLC/LM/6, f. 201r: Heldris de Cornuälle, ‘Le Roman de Silence’, lines 2500-2530 (early 13th century, French)


Apries xii . ans
si uint nature
Ki le blasme forment et coze
Distli chi a estrange coze
Ki te deduis al fuer demalle
Et uas sialuent et al halle
Car une special forme ai
Dont a mes . ii . mains te formai
Et labialte quai tant cele
Ai tolte entoi amoncelee
. M . gens me tienent por escarse
Por labialte dont tu ies farse
Car io ai de . M . gens retraite
Labialte dont tu ies refaite
. M . femes a enceste uie
Ki detoi ont moult grant en vie
Por lebialtet queles i uoient
Car puet scelestre eles i croient
Tel cose quen toi nen a mie
Et tels est ore moult tamie
Qui te haroit detolt lecuer
Seil detoi sauoit lefuer
Quele sen tenroit amalballie
Que sesperance estroit fallie
Tu me fais certes grant laidure
Quant tu maintiens tel noreture
Nedois pas enbos conuerser
Lancier . netraire . ne berser
Tol toi de chi cho dist nature
Va enlacambre a la costure
Cho uiolt de nature lius
Tu ne nes pas sicilentius


After twelve years Nature came along
Who accused Silence harshly and scolded her.
She said, 'This is a strange thing
That you amuse yourself like a man,
Going out in the wind and the scorching sun
When I had a special image of you,
When, with my own two hands, I formed you
And with all the beauty I had in store
I have drawn so much of it together in you.
One thousand people accuse me of being miserly
For the beauty with which you are filled to the brim.
I have taken away from one thousand people
The beauty of which you were also made.
There are one thousand women today
Who desire you very much
For the beauty that they see there
For in you being so convincing (as a man) they believe
That you have something that, indeed, you have not.
And because of this they who now love you greatly,
Those (same women) who would hate you with all their hearts
If they really knew how you were made -
They would feel themselves to be maltreated
In that all their hopes and expectations came to an end.
You certainly insult me and do me a great wrong
In leading your life in such a way.
You must not go into the woods to meet with others
Jousting, hawking or hunting with a bow,
Away with you from all of this, said Nature.
Go to the (bed)-chamber and stitch a seam
That is what Nature wishes you to do
You are not Silentius.

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