Le temps a laissie son manteau

Charles, Duke of Orleans one of the foremost French nobles of the 15th century, brother of one king, father of another, he was taken prisoner by the English at the battle of Agincourt and was held prisoner in England for about 25 years. In the post on October 17th, we read a poem of exile, as he gazed across the English channel to France from Dover, a very moving poem. Today’s poem is much simpler and more life-affirming, it is a celebration of the passing of the seasons from winter to spring.

Le temps a laissié son manteau
De vent, de froidure et de pluye,
Et s’est vestu de brouderie,
De soleil luyant, cler et beau.
Il n’y a beste ne oyseau,
Qu’en son jargon ne chante ou crie ;
Le temps a laissié son manteau.
Rivière, fontaine et ruisseau
Portent, en livree jolie,
Gouttes d’argent d’orfaverie,
Chascun s’abille de nouveau :
Le temps a laissié son manteau.

From <http://www.frenchtoday.com/french-poetry-reading/le-temps-a-laisse-son-manteau-charles-d-orleans&gt;


The theme, repeated at the beginning, middle and end of the poem is that time has taken off its overcoat, just as we shed our heavy coats as the cold weather ends and we move into spring. The cold, windy and rainy times are over, giving way to clear, sunny weather. The birds and animals begin to sing and, the rivers and streams begin to flow easily, splashing silvery drops pf water. The world is renewed in its dress of spring.

The poem is joyful, and optimistic, and can of course stand for many things beyond the mere passing of the seasons. The simple structure and repetition of the theme make this poem both accessible and memorable, and the mediaeval French spellings and constructions are still very understandable to the modern reader.

Another example of the timelessness of the appeal of great poetry
The Poetry Dude


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