Clement Marot wrote some very long poems and some very short ones. This is one of the very short ones, but in its few lines it contains all the hallmarks of Marot’s wit and playfulness which run through most of his work. I believe there is also a musical arrangement of this poem, but I have not heard it. Certainly I can imagine a 16th century gentleman serenading his lover with these words, accompanied on the lute or harpsichord perhaps.
The poem is adressed to a 15 year old girl, and at that time, of course, girls were considered eminently marriageable at that age. The theme is seduction, (so this is indeed poetry with a useful function). See if you think it succeeds in this objective.
Des Cinq Poinctz en Amours
Fleur de quinze ans, si Dieu vous sauve et gard,
J’ai en amour trouvé cinq points expres.
Premierement il y a le regard
Puis le devis et le baiser après,
L’attouchement suit le baiser de près,
Et tous ceux la tendent au dernier point,
Qui est, je ne le diray point ;
Mais s’il vous plait en ma chambre vous rendre,
Je me mettray volontiers en pourpoint,
Voire tout nud, pour le vous faire apprendre.
In the poem the poet seeks to instruct this 15 year old girl, in the flower of her youth, on the five stages of love’s progress. First comes the look; then the declaration; third is the kiss, then comes the touch. As for the fifth stage, the poet will not say, but he offers to demonstrate by receiving the girl, either in his underwear or completely naked, in his chamber. I wonder if the girl accepts…
I can imagine this poem was very popular among young lovers of the time and brought many a blush to the cheek of comely young maidens.
The Poetry Dude