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Open access 15th c.
MS Florence 2794

 

 
Que feray, las, fors languir en destresse 3v · Anonymous

Sources:

Bologna Q16 ff. 97v-98 »Che seray la surs« 3v Facsimile

*Florence 176 ff. 75v-77 »Que feray las« 3v PDF

Florence 229 ff. 215v-216 »Que serai las fort languir« 3v

Edition: Brown 1983 no. 199 (after Florence 229, without text)

Text: Rondeau cinquain; incipits only in the musical sources; Florence 176 has incipits on two openings: “Que feray las” and for line 4 “J’ay requis mort mille foys”, which perfectly match the complete rondeau in Lille 402, no. 21, ed. Françon 1938, p. 134.

After Lille 402 (and Florence 176):

Que feray, las, fors languir en destresse
quant pour servir une seulle maistresse
je suis banny et hors de sa demeure?
J’ay requis mort mille foys que je meure,
mais el ne veult, ains de vivre me presse.

C’est Faulx Rapport qui m’a mys en la presse,
ou pressé suis par sy tresdure appresse
que je meurs vif et n’ay qui me sequeure.

Que feray, las, fors languir en destresse
quant pour servir une seulle maistresse
je suis banny et hors de sa demeure?

J’ay maintenu la verité expresse,
j’ay quis le plain et ay suivy l’adresse
en desconfort et en sueur labeure:
Les desloyaulx ont le bruit pour ceste heure,
les bons le bout dont voy que mal m’adresse.

Que feray, las, fors languir en destresse
quant pour servir une seulle maistresse
je suis banny et hors de sa demeure?
J’ay requis mort mille foys que je meure,
mais el ne veult, ains de vivre me presse.

What shall I do, alas, save languishing in distress,
since I for serving one mistress solely
have been banned from her dwelling?
I have a thousand times from death required that I die,
but it does not want it, rather pressures me to live.

It is Slander who has put me in this predicament,
where I am crushed by such hard pressure
that I die alive and do not have anyone to help me.

What shall I do, alas, save languishing in distress,
since I for serving one mistress solely
have been banned from her dwelling?

I have maintained the true testimony,
I have sought everywhere and followed the address
in discomfort and in the sweat of labour:
The perfidious have the advantage at this hour,
and the good the outcome where sickness calls for me.

What shall I do, alas, save languishing in distress,
since I for serving one mistress solely
have been banned from her dwelling?
I have a thousand times from Death required that I die,
but it does not want it, rather pressures me to live.

Evaluation of the sources:

The music was copied by the main scribe of Florence 176 without any errors, and the text incipits agree exactly with the words of the rondeau cinquain preserved in the poetry collection Lille 402 from the early 16th century (see above). For the small differences in the other musical sources, see the edition in Brown 1983.

Comments on text and music:

The downcast poem is artfully wrought in rich rimes léonines – a work worthy of a rhétoriqueur. The setting is in the standard configuration of superius and tenor an octave apart supplemented by a low contratenor, which does not cross above the tenor. It is made with close attention to the words, cf. the syllabic setting of the important 3rd verse line (important in the refrain as well as in the couplet and tierce), where the contratenor participates in the declamation of the last half of the line! Moreover, the ligatures in the contratenor are decisive for the placement of the text; for example, they postpone the last word of the 4th line to bar 43, after the cadence in the superius, so that it falls on the descending triad in exactly the same manner as in the tenor a semibrevis later. The music is varied in its alternation of imitation at the octave between tenor and superius, free polyphony and homorhythmic declamation.  The imitation figure in bars 19 ff is clearly related to the corresponding figure in bars 13 ff in Mureau’s rondeau »Tant fort me tarde ta venue« in Florence 176 ff. 51v-73.

This song is a candidate for an ascription to the composer and poet Gilles Mureau. In addition to its general stylistic compatibility with his chansons and its use of artful poetic devices, it is placed in a series of songs in Florence 176 in which a later hand has identified two songs as being the works of Mureau (nos. 48-49; this is no. 50).

See further my Introduction to The Complete Works of Gilles Mureau.

PWCH July 2011