Seulete sui et seulete vueil estre,

For anyone who thought the blues originated in the cottonfields of Louisiana and Mississippi a bit more than 100 years ago, I commend this piece going back about 750 years, written by French poet Christine de Pisan. She is lonesome and she’s got the blues…

Christine de Pisan was writing in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, so the late mediaeval period. Highly recommended…

Christine de Pisan

Seulete sui

Seulete sui et seulete vueil estre,
Seulete m’a mon douz ami laissiee;
Seulete sui, sanz compaignon ne maistre
Seulete sui, dolente et courrouciee,
Seulete sui, en langueur mesaisiee,
Seulete sui, plus que nulle esgaree,
Seulete sui, sanz ami demouree.

Seulete sui a uis ou a fenestre,
Seulete sui en un anglet muciee,
Seulete sui pour moi de pleurs repaistre,
Seulete sui, dolente ou apisiee;
Seulete sui, rien n’est qui tant messiee;
Seulete suis, en ma chambre enserree,
Seulete sui, sanz ami demouree.

Seulete sui partout et en tout estre;
Seulete sui, ou je voise ou je siee;
Seulete sui plus qu’aultre riens terrestre,
Seulete sui, de chascun delaissiee,
Seulete sui durement abaissiee,
Seulete sui, souvent toute esplouree,
Seulete sui, sanz ami demouree.

Prince, or est ma douleur commenciee:
Seulete sui, de tout deuil manaciee,
Seulete sui, plus teinte que moree:
Seulete sui, sanz ami demouree.

From <;

Read it out loud, the hypnotic repetition of “Seulete sui”, and at the end of every stanza, “sanz ami demouree”. Which builds a cumulative impact of sadness and loneliness. This is a timeless poem – sufferers of teen angst and thwarted love in any place and at any age will find their feelings in this poem. Wonderful stuff…

The Poetry Dude


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