Mauldicte soit la mondaine richesse

That inveterate jester and womaniser Clement Marot gets his wake-up call to reality in this poem as he finds out that sometimes women do prefer money and status to just being with someone who is good company. He curses this eternal truth, but I bet if had as much money as he had charm he would use it to his advantage…

Clement Marot
(Avant 1529)

Mauldicte soit la mondaine richesse,
Qui m’as osté m’Amye et ma Maistresse,
Las, par verty j’ay son amytié quise,
Mais par richesse ung aultre l’a conquise;
Vertu n’a pas en amour grand prouesse.

Dieu gard de mal la Nymphe et la Deesse;
Mauldict soit l’Or, où elle a sa liesse;
Mauldicte soit la fine Soye exquise,
Le Dyamant et la Perle requise,
Puis que par eulx il fault qu’elle me laisse.


The first stanza sets the scene – the poet curses money and riches and then we find out that he has conquered the heart of a young lady only to see her turn her favours to another who has more money. The final line of the stanza laments that virtue (on its own) is not much use in the pursuit of love.

The second stanza curses in turn the gold, fine silk, diamonds and pearls which the poet’s rival has offered to turn the girl’s head. I think gifts like this would still be pretty effective today, just as they were 500 years ago when Marot wrote this poem. Romantic love by itself does not have much staying power. It is refreshing to see these realities so well expressed in a poem.

The Poetry Dude


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