Here is a poem with a simple and universal theme from, Charles Duke of Orleans, brother of the king of France, presumably written during his long exile in England after being taken prisoner at the battle of Agincourt. He had a lot of free time to write poems and I have posted several on this blog.
This poem is summed up by its title, repeated throughout the poem, “I love whoever loves me, if not I don’t love them” – so love must be reciprocal and balanced. This applies to friendship and communication in general, hence the universality and continued relevance of this theme. It reveals the poet to be a thoughtful and civilised man, making the best of his difficult circumstances.
Charles d’ ORLEANS (1394-1465)
J’ayme qui m’ayme, autrement non
J’ayme qui m’ayme, autrement non ;
Et non pour tant, je ne hay rien,
Mais vouldroye que tout fust bien,
A l’ordonnance de Raison.
Je parle trop, las ! se faiz mon !
Au fort, en ce propos me tien :
J’ayme qui m’ayme, autrement non,
Et non pour tant je ne hay rien.
De pensees son chapperon
A brodé le povre cueur mien ;
Tout droit de devers lui je vien,
Et ma baillé ceste chançon :
J’ayme qui m’ayme, autrement non.
Two other notions come through in this poem – even when he doesn’t love, the poet hates nothing nor nobody. And he trusts in the power of reason, above all. Admirable sentiments from an admirable man and poet…
The Poetry Dude