Adieu m’amour, adieu douces fillettes,

Seems like it was as hard to leave Paris 750 years ago as it is these days. Here is Eustace Deschamps writing a poem of farewell to Paris in the 1300s, when it looks like he was off to fight a war in the south of France. I had similar feelings when I left Paris to come and live in Texas, and my wife never forgave me. Ah well, we can always visit from time to time. Its amazing how a place can capture the heart and soul of people across the centuries like this.
So, farewell to Paris…


Adieu m’amour, adieu douces fillettes,
Pont, haies, estuves, bains,
Adieu pourpoins, chauces, vestures nettes,
Adieu harnois tant clouez comme plains,
Adieu molz liz, broderie et beaus seins
Adieu dances, adieu qui les hantez,
Adieu connins, perdriz que je reclaims,
Paris, adieu petiz pastez.
Adieu chapeaulx faiz de toutes flourettes,
Adieu bons vins, ypocras, doulz compains,
Adieu poisson de mer, d’eaues doucettes.
Adieu moustiers ou l’en voit les doulz sains
Dont pluseurs sont maintefoiz chapellains.
Adieu déduit et dames qui chantez !
Languedoc m’en vois comme contrains :
Paris, adieu petiz pastez.
Adieu, je suis desor surespinettes
Car arrebours versera mes estrains,
Je pourrai bien perdre mes amourettes
S’amour change pour estre trop loingtains.
Crotez seray, dessirez et dessains,
Car li pais est détruit et gastez.
Si dirai lors pour reconfort au mains :

Paris, adieu petiz pastez !

From <;

In fact the word “Adieu”, farewell, really holds this poem together, giving it an intensity and a cumulative impact by force of repetition, coming in 21 times in this relatively short poem. And it contributes to the sense of suspense as it is accompanied by a list of the things in Paris that the poet will miss, but delaying any mention of why he must leave until the 19th line, when we learn that the poet is forced to leave for Languedoc in the south of France. We assume he is going to fight, as he says he will be muddied, torn apart and bloodied in a region where all is destroyed and spoilt, presumably by marauding armies.

So what does he miss about Paris? Well, many of the same things we would miss today, such as the girls, the lovers, the buildings and bridges, the good wine and food, the little cakes, the fish, both from the sea and the rivers, the dances and pretty clothes. I could make pretty much the same list myself.

I hope you managed to come back from the wars, M. Deschamps

The Poetry Dude

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