Qui veult avoir lyesse

Clement Marot is in good form here, with a poem about enjoying life and the benefits of looking at his mistress. It is fun to read Marot, because so much of his poetry is good-humoured, setting out to amusing and charming. There is not much lovers angst here or complaining about the vagaries of life and its varios setbacks, or about the deplorable state of the world.

So let’s enjoy this poem…

Chanson XI

Qui veult avoir lyesse
Seullement d’ung regard,
Vienne veoir ma Maistresse,
Que Dieu maintienne, et gard:
Elle a si bonne grâce,
Que celluy qui la voit,
Mille douleurs efface,
Et plus, s’il en avoit.
Les vertus de la Belle
Me font esmerveiller.
La souvenance d’elle
Faict mon cueur esveiller.
Sa beaulté tant exquise
Me faict la mort sentir:
Mais sa grâce requise
M’en peult bien garentir.

From <http://www.clementmarot.com/chansons.htm&gt;

The poem is adressed to “Qui veult avoir lysesse” in the first line. Lyesse is a somewhat obscure word, but I interpret it as meaning a good time, or fun, or something like that. So the poem is addressed to anyone who would like to have fun, or perhaps to be cheered up. And what should they do? Well, of course, go and look at and admire the poet’s mistress, so graceful that she can make anybody who looks at her forget all their cares. In fact the poet is so captivated by her in person and by the memory of her when they are not together that he feels he could die. No matter, though, even if he should approach death, the force of her grace will bring him back to life.

I bet Marot was a hit with the ladies of the court in sixteenth century France (and Navarre)…

The Poetry Dude


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