Ma Mignonne

Back to the early 1500s, and the French court, to Clement Marot, one of the most notable poets of the age, who was steeped in court life. This a charming, deceptively simple rhyming poem, written to cheer up a sick young girl.
A une Damoyselle malade

Clément Marot
October, 1537

Ma mignonne,
Je vous donne
Le bon jour;
Le séjour
C’est prison.
Puis ouvrez
Votre porte
Et qu ‘on sorte
Car Clément
Le vous mande.
Va, friande
De ta bouche,
Qui se couche
En danger
Pour manger
Si tu dures
Trop malade,
Couleur fade
Tu prendras,
Et perdras
Dieu te doint
Santé bonne,
Ma mignonne.

From <;

The rhythm is playful, accessible and speaks directly to the girl, deploring her sickness and wishing her a good recovery. This was an era when poetry was part of everyday life, at least for the educated and noble circles to which Marot belonged. Quite a lot of his poetry consists of mock-comic pleas to kings and patrons to give him money and favours, but here he turns his talents to an entirely admirable cause.

It is easy to imagine that when this girl recovered from her illness she could treasure this poem for the rest of her life along with the memory of the poet who came to her room to read it to her. And she will always remember his name, which appears in the poem as Clement orders her to leave her room and go and find some jam to eat to help her feel better.

The Poetry Dude


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