Manuscripts and Special Collections

WLC/LM/6, f. 222v: Heldris de Cornuälle, ‘Le Roman de Silence’, lines 6633-6646 (early 13th century, French)


Li rois a dit . iii . mos roials
Silence moult estes loials
Miols ualt certes ta loialtes
Que ne face ma roialtes
Il nest si preciose gemme
Netels tresors com bone feme
Nus hom ne poroit esproisier
Feme qui na soig de boisier
Silences ses quas recoure
Por cho que tu as si oure
Amer te uoelent manaidier
Sire cho me puet bien aidier
Ses que io ferai por tamor
Que iamais nen oras clamor
Femes raront lor iretage


The king made a declaration -
'Silence you are very loyal,
Indeed the value of your loyalty
Is more than equal to my royalty.
There is no more precious jewel,
No treasure equal to that of a virtuous woman.
No man could put a price on
A woman who does not practice deceit.
Silence, know that you have saved yourself
Because of your loyal deeds.
I wish to befriend you and protect you'.
'Sire, you can indeed help me'.
'Know (now) what I will do for your loyalty and fidelity,1
And in this way you will never have cause for appeal -
Women will (once more) have their inheritance.

1. The word t'amor means 'love' but also has a wide range of platonic meanings. It can also have the sense of loyalty.

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