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  • Karen Desmond (a1)

In balades 27 and 38, Machaut likens the wounds suffered by the lover to those that result from the poisons of deadly beasts. He invokes animal imagery to depict the beloved and her behaviour: she encloses within her being monstrous beasts that repel and repulse the lover, causing him grievous bodily harm. In the course of both balades the deadly beasts transform into various allegorical characters that are personifications of secular vices. One of these characters, Refusal (‘Refus’), emerges as central. Machaut personifies the lady's rejection of the lover's advances (which he makes through words/music) as the courtly vice Refusal. In Balade 27, it is her sense organs that enact this refusal: her ears cannot hear him, her mouth rejects him, and her Look kills him. I explore the resonances of Machaut's sadistic and animalistic lady in two spheres: the courtly, where the obvious antecedents for Machaut's imagery are the courtly bestiaries; and the sacred, where parallels between Refusal and the deadly sins of pride and envy can be detected, as suggested by my interpretation of these two balades and some of Machaut's motets, and the links I set forth between these sins, vices, and the senses that partake in them.

Patri carissimo eidemque ingeniossimo, John Patrick Desmond (1943–2013)

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1 In the following, I will refer to the poet's voice, the ‘je’ of these poems, as the ‘lover’ and I will refer to the addressee as the ‘beloved’ or the ‘lady’.

2 Balade 27 was discussed briefly by Wulf Arlt in an appendix to his article on Balade 28; see Arlt, W., ‘Machauts Pygmalion Ballade, mit einem Anhang zur Ballade 27 Une vipere en cuer’, in Williman, J. and Baumann, D. (eds.), Musikalische Interpretation: Reflexionen im Spannungsfeld von Notentext, Werkcharacter und Aufführung: Symposium zum 80. Geburtstag von Kurt von Fischer (Bern, 1999), pp. 2357. In addition, Kevin Brownlee has discussed the literary allusions (Ovid) in Balade 38. See Brownlee, K., ‘Literary Intertextualities in 14th-Century French Song’, in Danuser, H. and Plebuch, T. (eds.), Musik als Text: Bericht über den Internationalen Kongreß der Gesellschaft für Musikforschung, Freiburg im Breisgau 1993 (Kassel, 1998), pp. 295–9. For detailed analyses of the structural and textual complexity of other balades Machaut set to music, see in particular the analyses of Leach, Elizabeth Eva: ‘Fortune's Demesne: The Interrelation of Text and Music in Machaut's Il m'est avis (B22), De fortune (B23) and Two Related Anonymous Balades’, Early Music History, 19 (2000), pp. 4779; ‘Death of a Lover and the Birth of the Polyphonic Ballade: Machaut's Notated Ballades 1–5’, Journal of Musicology, 19 (2002), pp. 461–502; ‘Guillaume de Machaut, Royal Almoner: Honte, paour (B25) and Donnez, signeurs (B26) in Context’, Early Music, 40 (2010), pp. 21–42; and ‘Machaut's Balades with Four Voices’, Plainsong and Medieval Music, 10 (2001), pp. 47–79.

3 Leach alludes to the irony of this situation where ‘amorous failure is turned into a musico-poetic success’; ‘Death of a Lover’, p. 466.

4 It is a wonderful development in Machaut studies that so many of the Machaut manuscripts are now available online. These sources are aggregated at <>. These are the links to the exact folia that contain transmissions of Balade 27: MachWm, fol. 23 (text) (not available online); MachVg, fol. 28v (text) at <>; fol. 310v (2/1) at <> (access to DIAMM is free but requires registration to view images); MachM, fol. 195v (text) at <>, fol. 241v at <> (text); MachA, fol. 205 (text) at <>, fol. 467v (2/1) at <>; MachB, fol. 45v (text) at <>, fol. 308v (2/1) at <>; MachD, fol. 35 (text) at <>; MachE, fol. 148 (3/1) at <>; MachG, fol. 143v (2/1) at <>; MachPa, number 151, fol. 49v (text) at <>.

5 I would like to thank Elizabeth Eva Leach for her help with the translations of Balades 27 and 38. All translations into English are my own, unless otherwise noted.

6 Cirlot, J. E., Dictionary of Symbols (New York, 1971).

7 Ibid.

8 On the medieval ‘crisis of eloquence’ see the chapter entitled The Garden of Eloquence’ in Jager, E., The Tempter's Voice: Language and the Fall in Medieval Literature (Ithaca, NY, 2006).

9 In all likelihood, Machaut was not actually resident in Reims until after the composition of this balade; see Bowers, R., ‘Guillaume de Machaut and his Canonry of Reims, 1338–1377’, Early Music History, 23 (2004), pp. 148. As Bowers notes, however, ‘Reims was the prime metropolis of the region of Machaut's upbringing and boyhood education’ (p. 2): Machaut was surely familiar with this statue. On representations of Eve, see Kraus, H., ‘Eve and Mary: Conflicting Images of Medieval Woman’, in The Living Theatre of Medieval Art (Bloomington and London, 1967) , pp. 4162.

10 The description of the serpent with a woman's face is in many medieval accounts: John Block Friedman finds it in the writings of Vincent of Beauvais, Peter Comestor, Hugh of St. Cher, St Bonaventure among others. Friedman, J. B., ‘Antichrist and the Iconography of Dante's Geryon’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 35 (1972), pp. 108–22. See also Bonnell, J., ‘The Serpent with a Human Head in Art and Mystery Play’, American Journal of Archeology, 21 (1917), pp. 255–91.

11 The version beginning ‘En cuer ma dame’ is recorded in MachVg, MachA, MachB and MachD (in MachB and MachD it is ‘Ou cuer’). All the versions with music and the text version in MachPa begin ‘Une vipere en cuer’. In MachM, the text-only version of the balade is recorded twice: on fol. 195v it begins ‘En cuer ma dame’ and on fol. 241v it begins ‘Une vipere en cuer’. I was not able to consult the version in MachWm.

12 Another musical example of a slithering serpentine melodic line is Fawkyner's Gaude rosa sine spina (Eton Choir Book), bars 87–94, given as Example 5 in Robertson, A. W., ‘The Savior, the Woman, and the Head of the Dragon in the Caput Masses and Motet’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 59 (2006), pp. 537630, at 602.

13 Zayaruznaya, A., ‘“She Has a Wheel that Turns…”: Crossed and Contradictory Voices in Machaut's Motets’, Early Music History, 28 (2009), pp. 185240, at 191. Zayaruznaya analyses Machaut's use of voice-crossing between the motetus and triplum in motets associated with the goddess Fortuna, ‘who traditionally raises the low and lowers the high’ (p. 185).

14 For a description of a similar instance of programmatic voice-crossing in the anonymous balade ‘Toute clarté m'est obscuré’, see Günther, U., ‘Sinnbezuge zwischen Text und Musik in Ars Nova und Ars Subtilior’, in Günther, U. and Finscher, L. (eds.), Musik und Text in der Mehrstimmigkeit des 14. und 15. Jahrhunderts (Kassel, 1984), pp. 229–68. I am grateful to Anna Zayaruznaya for this reference. Margaret Bent also analyses the registral exchange used by Machaut in M9 (among other techniques) at both structurally significant and textually significant moments. See Bent, M., ‘Words and Music in Machaut's Motet 9’. Early Music, 31 (2003), pp. 363–88.

15 Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, 5203, fol. 11v (text) (not available online); MachM, fol. 243v (text) at <>; MachA, fol. 473v (3/1) at <>; MachE, fol. 157 (3/1) at <>; MachG, fol. 148v (3/1) at <>; Trem, fols. 18v–19 (lost), 28v–29 (lost); MachPa, number 160, fols. 51v–52r (text) at <>.

16 Phiton, Phiton, beste tres venimeuse by Magister Franciscus also references this story. Brownlee discusses the intertextualities between Balade 38 and the composition by Franciscus in ‘Literary Intertextualities in 14th-Century French Song’.

17 There are obvious parallels between this story and the pursuit of the woman with child by the dragon in the Book of the Apocalypse. Machaut plays on these apocalyptic resonances in the second stanza of Balade 38.

18 It was also known in the Middle Ages from other classical sources such as Hyginus' Fabulae 53 and 140, and Servius' gloss on Aeneid 3.73. See C. Fumo, J., The Legacy of Apollo: Antiquity, Authority and Chaucerian Poetics (Toronto, 2010), p. 29. The Homeric Hymn tells us that the serpent's name ‘Python’ is derived from the Greek word ‘putho’ meaning ‘rot’. ‘Whosoever met the dragoness, the day of doom would sweep him away, until the lord Apollo, who deals death from afar, shot a strong arrow at her. Then she, rent with bitter pangs, lay drawing great gasps for breath and rolling about that place. An awful noise swelled up unspeakable as she writhed continually this way and that amid the wood: and so she left her life, breathing it forth in blood. Then Phoebus Apollo boasted over her: “Now rot here upon the soil that feeds man! You at least shall live no more to be a fell bane to men who eat the fruit of the all-nourishing earth, and who will bring hither perfect hecatombs. Against cruel death neither Typhoeus shall avail you nor ill-famed Chimera, but here shall the Earth and shining Hyperion make you rot.” Thus said Phoebus, exulting over her: and darkness covered her eyes. And the holy strength of Helios made her rot away there; wherefore the place is now called Pytho, and men call the lord Apollo by another name, Pythian; because on that spot the power of piercing Helios made the monster rot away.’ Hesiod, , Homeric Hymns, Epic Cycle, Homerica, ed. Evelyn-White, H. G. (Cambridge, Mass. and London, 1914), pp. 360–74. Available at <>, acc. 21 Mar. 2012.

19 These aspects (oozing, uncontrollable, etc.) that were associated with the female persisted into the Middle Ages; for example, Caroline Walker Bynum has analysed how women were depicted in art of the late Middle Ages in terms of breaches of boundaries: ‘openings, exudings, spilling forths’. See Bynum, C. W., Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender in Medieval Religion (New York, 1991), p. 109.

20 Ovid, , Metamorphoses, ed. Magnus, H. (Gotha, 1892). Available at <>, acc. 18 Apr. 2012.

21 Ovid, , Metamorphoses, trans. More, B. (Boston, 1922). Available at <>, acc. 21 Mar. 2012.

22 Brownlee, ‘Literary Intertextualities in 14th-Century French Song’, p. 296.

23 Ovide moralisé, ed. C. de Boer, vol. 1 (Amsterdam, 1915), p. 118, ll. 2647–55. One of the manuscript sources is now available online: the passage that references Python is found on fol. 61r–v. See <>.

24 Ovide moralisé, ed. de Boer, ll. 1672–2678. Man can hope to achieve victory over these forces of evil through the virtue of humility (‘pour vivre en vraie humilité’). Ibid., p. 119, line 2831.

25 Fumo, The Legacy of Apollo, p. 68. For an interpretation of a motet and its accompanying illumination in the Montpellier manuscript that exploits the topos of the hunter and the hunted, in the context of both secular and sacred love, see Roesner, E. H., ‘Subtilitas and Delectatio: Ne m'a pas oublié’, in Doss-Quinby, E., Krueger, R. L. and Burns, E. J. (eds.), Cultural Performances in Medieval France: Essays in Honor of Nancy Freeman Regaldo (Cambridge, 2007), pp. 2544.

26 Ovide moralisé, ed. de Boer, p. 120, Book 1, ll. 2765–6. In this section of the Ovide moralisé, the author inteprets Daphne as a symbol for the Virgin Mary.

27 Brownlee: ‘the shift from two “arpens” to one “erpent” does not strike me as semantically significant in and of itself with regard to Machaut's rereading of Ovide, but rather as an indication of the kinds of liberties he will take with his model text’; ‘Literary Intertextualities in 14th-Century French Song’, p. 296.

28 This motif occurs at breves 1, 19, 48 and 64 in the tenor, and on a different pitch and slightly different rhythm in the cantus at breves 6, 18, 55 and 63.

29 Etymologiae, Book 12, 4: 10–11; translation from Isidore of Seville, The Etymologies, trans. Barney, S. A., Lewis, W. J., Beach, J. A. and Berghof, O. (Cambridge, 2006), p. 255.

30 In the triplum of the Fauvel motet Orbis orbatus/Vos pastores adulteri/Fur non venit there is a comparison of the clerics to vipers: they are without ears and do not pay attention to the misery of the people.

31 The Physiologus, an ancient Greek text on animals and beasts, was very well known throughout the Middle Ages through a variety of Latin translations and the incorporation of much of its material into Latin bestiary tradition. See: Physiologus: A Medieval Book of Nature Lore (Chicago, 1979).

32 As quoted in McCulloch, F., ‘The Metamorphoses of the Asp in Latin and French Bestiaries’, Studies in Philology, 56 (1959), pp. 713. I am indebted to Elizabeth Eva Leach for help in translating this passage, and for pointing me towards this story in the first place, and to the related Psalm text (Ps. 57: 4–6).

33 Beer, J. M. A., Beasts of Love: Richard de Fournival's Bestiaire d'Amour and a Woman's Response (Toronto, 2004). Beer presents an English translation of Richard's Bestiaire: for the most recent edition, see de Fournival, Richard, Le Bestiaire d'Amour et La Response du Bestiaire, ed. Bianciotto, G. (Paris, 2009).

34 Chazan, M. and Regalado, N. F. (eds.), Lettres, musique et société en Lorraine médiévale: Autour du Tournoi de Chauvency (Ms Oxford, Bodl, Douce 308) (Geneva, 2012). The Old French ballettes of Douce 308 have been the subject of two studies in recent years: Atchison, M., The Chansonnier of Oxford Bodleian MS Douce 308: Essays and Complete Edition (Aldershot, 2005), and The Old French Ballette: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 308, ed. Doss-Quinby, E. and Rosenberg, S. N., with music editions and commentary by Aubrey, Elizabeth (Geneva, 2006).

35 I am grateful to Nancy Freeman Regalado for allowing me to read her forthcoming article on Richard of Fournival's ‘courtliness’, and on the intersection of the courtly and clerkly within his Bestiaire: Regalado, N., ‘Force de parole: Shaping Courtliness in Richard de Fournival's Bestiaire d'amours, copied in Metz about 1312 (Oxford, Bodl. Ms Douce 308)’, in O'Sullivan, D. and Shepard, L. (eds.), Shaping Courtliness in Medieval France [Festschrift for Matilda Bruckner] (Rochester, NY, forthcoming, 2013).

36 Beer, Beasts of Love, p. 11. Fournival takes the occasion of this story to begin a long digression on the nature of the five senses, and, in particular, focuses on the power of the ‘voice’ above all the other senses.

37 Margaret Bent notes the medieval belief that Mary was inseminated through her ear (‘per aurem concepisti’), which also signifies Mary's submission (and receptivity) to the Divine Word (private comm., 16 May 2012). The medieval theology of the aural conception also suggests the sanctity of the female ear: for a viper to block a woman's ear is a violation of her sanctity.

38 Leach argues a similar point in the last chapter of her Machaut book: that the long melismas in B32 (Plourez, dames) are Machaut's way of flaunting his song in the faces of the ladies who must weep for him in order to save him (and thereby save song). Leach, E. E., Guillaume de Machaut: Secretary, Poet, Musician (Ithaca, NY, 2011), p. 266.

39 Geryon, the beast in Dante's Purgatorio, is also described as having a scorpion's tail; see Friedman, ‘Antichrist and the Iconography of Dante's Geryon’, p. 109.

40 da Casale, Ubertino, Arbor Vitae Crucifixae Jesu, ed. Davis, C. T. (Turin, 1961), Bk. V, vii, p. 455; quoted in Friedman, ‘Antichrist’, p. 113. Friedman also quotes Jacques de Vitry's description of the scorpion as having an agreeable (seductive, alluring) face: ‘Scorpio blandum et quasi virgineum dicitur vultum, sed aculeum habet in cauda venenosa’ (‘The scorpion is said to have a fair face, like a virgin, but it has a sting in its venomous tail’). Historia Orientalis (Douai, 1597), ch. 89 (quoted in Friedman, p. 113). See also Pace, G. B., ‘The Scorpion of Chaucer's Merchant's Tale’, Modern Language Quarterly, 26 (1965), pp. 369–74. This is Chaucer's description of the scorpion (Merchant's Tale, ll. 845–52) (quoted in Pace, p. 369):

O sodden hap! O thou Fortune unstable!
Lyk to the scorpion so deceyvable
That flaterest with thyn heed whan thou wolt stynge
Thy tayl is deeth, thurgh thyn envenymygne
O brotil joye! o sweete venym queynte!
O monstre, that so subtilly kanst peynte
Thy yiftes under hewe of stidefastnesse,
That thou deceyvest bothe moore and lesse!’

41 Bliss, J., ‘A Fine and Private Place’, in Hopkins, A. and Rushton, C. J. (eds.), The Erotic in the Literature of Medieval Britain (Cambridge, Mass., 2007), pp. 155–63. On the scorpion as a symbol of lechery, see Rumsey, L., ‘The Scorpion of Lechery and Ancrene Wisse’, Medium Aevum, 61 (1992), pp. 4858.

42 Pace, ‘The Scorpion’, p. 371.

43 On the illustration given as Figure 7 see Bober, H., ‘The Zodiacal Miniature of the Très Riches Heures of the Duke of Berry: Its Sources and Meaning’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 11 (1948), pp. 134.

44 Bondeson, J., The Feejee Mermaid and Other Essays in Natural and Unnatural History (Ithaca, NY, 1999), p. 166. The basilisk is also the subject of a balade by Solage (Le basile).

45 Pliny the Elder, The Natural History 8.33, available at <>, acc. 21 Mar. 2012. The entry on the basilisk in Bartholomeus Anglicus's De proprietatibus rerum echoes all qualities outlined by Pliny, including the foul breath and the deadly glance (Bk. 18, ch. 16); an English translation of Trevisa, John is On the Properties of Things: John Trevisa's Translation of Bartholomaeus Anglicus, De Proprietatibus Rerum: A Critical Text, trans. Seymour, M. C., vol. 2 (Oxford, 1988), pp. 1153–4. According to Anne Walters Robertson (private comm., 16 Apr. 2012), the library at Reims contained copies of Bartholomaeus's encyclopedia in French and Latin (Reims, Bibliothèque municipale, 993, 992).

46 The theory of the generation of the basilisk was first transmitted in the 12th-c. bestiary of Alexander of Neckham and expanded on in the 13th-c. bestiary of Pierre de Beauvais. Bondeson, The Feejee Mermaid, p. 167. See also Breiner, L. A., ‘The Career of the Cockatrice’, Isis, 70 (1979), pp. 3047, and A. Lepp, ‘The Rooster's Egg: Maternal Metaphors and Medieval Men’ (Ph.D. diss., University of Toronto, 2010), pp. 4–10.

47 The trope that a woman's glance could be deadly was not uncommon: there was a belief, for example, that the build-up of menstrual blood was expelled as a deadly poison through the eyes of women during menstruation. Lepp, ‘The Rooster's Egg’, p. 9. Also see Salmón, F. and Cabré, M., ‘Fascinating Women: The Evil Eye in Medical Scholasticism’, in French, R. (ed.), Medicine from the Black Death to the French Disease (Aldershot, 1998), pp. 5384.

48 A quick perusal of the texts of Machaut's musical balades finds a mixture of references to the lady's look. In some, the references are benign, merely referring to the softness or sweetness of her look; for example: in Balade 9 she has a ‘sweet and pleasing look’ (‘Par vostre doulz plaisant regart’); in Balade 34 the lover bemoans that distance has ‘put me far from the look of the fair one’ (‘Pour eslongier le regart de la blonde’); in Balade 35 he references ‘Son doulz regart et sa fresche coulour’ (‘Her gentle look and her fresh complexion’) and in Balade 36 he desires that ‘I might have from your very soft look’ (‘Pooie avoir de vo tres dous regart’). The look referenced in Balades 2 and 4 is more sinister: ‘Quant la grant douceur m'est lonteinne de vostre dous riant regart qui navre d'un amoureus dart’ (‘the great sweetness of your soft laughing look that wounds me with its arrow of love’) (Balade 2). Balade 4 has looks that kill the lover: ‘Simple vis a cuer d'aymant. Regart pour tuer un amant’ (‘Gentle face with a heart of steel. A look to kill a lover’).

49 The text and translation of the line from Balade 22 is from Leach, ‘Fortune's Demesne’, p. 49. The M8 text and translation is from Robertson, A. W., Guillaume de Machaut and Reims: Context and Meaning in his Musical Works (Cambridge, 2002), p. 306.

50 Zayaruznaya notes that in the Roman de la Rose Fortune is described not only as being blind herself, but also has the power to blind her victims (‘“She Has a Wheel that Turns…”’, p. 204).

51 Important recent studies of Machaut's counterpoint include: Bain, J., ‘Tonal Structure and the Melodic Role of Chromatic Inflections in the Music of Machaut’, Plainsong and Medieval Music, 14 (2005), pp. 5988; Bent, M., ‘The Grammar of Early Music: Preconditions for Analysis’, in Judd, C. C. (ed.), Tonal Structures in Early Music (New York and London, 1998), pp. 1559; Cohen, D. E., ‘The Imperfect Seeks its Perfection’: Harmonic Progression, Directed Motion, and Aristotelian Physics’, Music Theory Spectrum, 23 (2001), pp. 139–69; Fuller, S., ‘Tendencies and Resolutions: The Directed Progression in Ars Nova Music’, Journal of Music Theory, 36 (1992), pp. 229–57; and Leach, E. E., ‘Counterpoint and Analysis in Fourteenth-Century Song’, Journal of Music Theory, 44 (2000), pp. 4579.

52 It could be argued that the note in the tenor should be sung E-fa rather than E-mi (so as to avoid the diminished fifth), and so the dissonance here becomes a melodic dissonance in the tenor, where it sings E-fa followed by F-mi; however, I think the E-mi, as a suspension, is permissible.

53 I should add a note of caution here: we do not know if chanson composers considered the interrelationships of words and music for subsequent stanzas in the same way as they conceived the first stanza (the one that is directly underlaid with the music). I would tend to believe that Machaut was conscious of how the poetic and musical structure would interact in subsequent stanzas, at least as evidenced in these two balades (a more thorough study of balade repertory would provide further evidence). To put it another way, Machaut certainly seems careful to build analogies or parallelisms in the poem between the three stanzas, and these are then reflected and/or emphasised in the musical setting because of the repeated music. As we analyse these pieces, we may find that the best example of semantic reflection in the music (or perhaps the most structurally significant example) occurs in the second or third stanza, but we do need to keep in mind also that it was the first stanza that was always heard first, and possibly also the first conceived.

54 Earp, L., ‘Declamatory Dissonance in Machaut’, in Clark, S. and Leach, E. E. (eds.), Citation and Authority in Medieval and Renaissance Music: Learning from the Learned (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2005), pp. 102–22. Also see Boone, G. M., Patterns in Play: A Model for Text-Setting in the Early Chansons of Guillaume Dufay (Lincoln, Nebr., 1999).

55 Regart is not necessarily a vice; see above, n. 48, for the discussion of the role of ‘Sweet Look’ in Machaut's balades: however, in Balade 27, the lady's look is not so sweet.

56 English translation from Robertson, Guillaume de Machaut and Reims, p. 296. The ‘male pointure’ recalls the ‘Refus’ and scorpion association of Balade 27 (see above, p. 74). The triplum voice later refers to the ‘morsure’ (a bite or sting) suffered by him, and that his heart has been torn from him and set ablaze.

57 The text and translation are taken from Robertson, Guillaume de Machaut and Reims, pp. 313–14.

58 Margaret Bent has written on the close relationship between the tenors of M4 and M9 in ‘Words and Music in Machaut's Motet 9’, p. 374.

59 On M15 see Bent, M., ‘Deception, Exegesis and Sounding Number in Machaut's Motet 15’, Early Music History, 10 (1991), pp. 1527, and K. Brownlee, ‘Machaut's Motet 15 and the “Roman de la rose”: The Literary Context of “Amours qui a le pouoir/Faus Samblant m'a deceu/Vidi Dominum”’, ibid., pp. 1–14.

60 The text and translation are from Robertson, Guillaume de Machaut, p. 320. Brownlee interprets the dialogue between the key personification characters Amours and Faus Samblant in M15 as being informed by the structure of the Roman de la Rose, which at its centre focuses on the opposition between Amours and Faus Samblant: Faus Samblant's long speech and interrogation by Amours takes place at lines 10931–12014. Brownlee, ‘Machaut's Motet 15 and the “Roman de la rose”’.

61 For a detailed analysis of M15 and Lady Fortune, see Zayaruznaya, ‘“She Has a Wheel that Turns”’.

62 Margaret Bent has analysed M9 in depth in her article ‘Words and Music in Machaut's Motet 9’, p. 386. Other important studies include H. H. Eggebrecht, ‘Machaut's Motette Nr. 9’, Archiv für Musikwissenschaft, 19–20, 25 (1962–3, 1965), pp. 281–93 and 173–95; Markstrom, K., ‘Machaut and the Wild Beast’, Acta Musicologica, 61 (1989), pp. 1239; Boogart, J., ‘Encompassing Past and Present: Quotations and their Function in Machaut's Motets’, Early Music History, 20 (2001), pp. 186; Robertson, Guillaume de Machaut and Reims, pp. 137–51. Markstrom associates the particular imagery of M9 with the plagues of 1348 and 1349, while Robertson believes the motet was composed before the 1340s, and suggests that the references are of a more general apocalyptic nature. In reference to the ‘fera pessima’ (‘worst beast’) and our basilisk, it should be noted some believed the Black Death was caused by invisible poisonous vapours.

63 Robertson, Guillaume de Machaut and Reims, p. 308.

64 Ibid., pp. 137–51.

65 Bloomfield, M. W., The Seven Deadly Sins: An Introduction to the History of a Religious Concept, with Special Reference to Medieval English Literature (East Lansing, Mich., 1952), p. 72. Gregory the Great was the first to list seven sins and to place pride at the top: however, both Cassian and Augustine also emphasised the primacy of pride (ibid., p. 359).

66 Text and translation from Robertson, Guillaume de Machaut, pp. 307–8.

67 ‘Et hoc est peccatum superbiae, non subdi superiori in eo quo debet. Unde peccatum primum Angeli non potest esse aliud quam superbia.’ Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, q. 63 a.2. Available at <>, acc. 21 Mar. 2012.

68 Robertson, Guillaume de Machaut, pp. 141–2.

69 Ibid., p. 140.

70 Dreux de Hautvillers's verses on envy, De invidia versus, mention the ‘fera pessima’ and the scorpion. Robertson, Guillaume de Machaut and Reims, p. 141. Robertson also ties in the mystical text of Henry Suso, which in her interpretation informs the spiritual journey outlined in Machaut's entire cycle of motets, whose discussion of ‘invidia’ includes the phrase ‘you clever little vixen, you venomous viper, you evil beast [fera pessima]’ (p. 147).

71 Latin text available at <>, accessed 21 Mar. 2012. Translation in Ovid, Metamorphoses: A New Verse Translation, trans. D. Raeburn (London, 2004), p. 111.

72 Ovide moralisé, ed. de Boer, p. 255, Bk. 3, ll. 3952–2955. In the opinion of the author of the Ovide moralisé, individuals who live their lives like Aglauros (the victim of Envy's poison) will be judged accordingly at the end of their lives: ‘mavuese et pecherresse et vis / Plaine d'orgueil, plaine d'envie, / De rancure et de felonie / De convoitise et de tout vice / Et tout bien ot mis en refu’ (‘bad and sinful and with a visage full of pride, full of envy, of rancor and of cruelty, of enviousness and of every vice’) (ibid., p. 260, ll. 4157–63).

73 Latin text available at <>, acc. 21 Mar. 2012. Translation in Ovid, Metamorphoses: A New Verse Translation, p. 111.

74 Latin text, Robertson, Guillaume de Machaut and Reims, p. 308. I have slightly modified Robertson's translation.

75 On the concept of garrulity as a vice of women, see Bardsley, S., Venomous Tongues: Speech and Gender in Late Medieval England (Philadelphia, 2006). Bardsley notes that excessive speech was considered a feminine behaviour, and men who engaged in excessive speech were labelled as effeminate and of possessing ‘lame tongues’ worn out by overuse (p. 66). Garrulity (chattering) is criticised twice in the Roman de Fauvel motet Garrit gallus/In nova fert/Neuma, another motet with apocalyptic imagery.

76 Bent, ‘Words and Music in Machaut's Motet 9’, p. 385.

77 Newhauser, R., The Seven Deadly Sins: From Communities to Individuals (Leiden, 2007), p. 43. On the early iconography of the evil eye, see Dunbabin, K. M. C. and Dickie, M. W.. ‘Invida rumpantur pectora: The Iconography of Phthonos/Invidia in Graeco-Roman Art’, Jahrbuch fur Antike und Christentum, 26 (1983), pp. 737, and Neuhauser, R. (ed.), In the Garden of Evil: The Vices and Culture in the Middle Ages (Toronto, 2005).

78 Livor also translates as ‘bruise’ (or ‘rust’ in fruit): our modern term for postmortem lividity is ‘livor mortis’ or the bruises of death, and as such has a very physical connotation (see the opening paragraph on the wounds of love).

79 Quoted in Elliott, D., Fallen Bodies: Pollution, Sexuality, and Demonology in the Middle Ages (Philadelphia, 1994), p. 231. This particular reference contrasts the virginal (‘sealed’) aspects of Mary to the corrupt (and by extension ‘unsealed’) Eve.

80 Eadmer, for example, denounces Eve for desiring to be the Devil, and corrupting Adam with her eloquence: ‘You [Eve] however were wretchedly seduced [1 Tim 2: 14], and imbued with semen from the manifold traces of perverse desires, you enticed him [Adam] to consenting to you by enticing eloquence, presaging in this work of yours that it was the true opinion of the man of God, namely women even make the wise apostasize.’ See Eadmer, De conceptione Beatae Mariae Virginis, PL 159, col. 312, quoted in Elliot, Fallen Bodies, p. 113. The Latin text is: ‘O Eva, quam propinquior verae ac summae deitati exstitisses, si in status tui humilitate Deo subdita perstitisses. Adam quippe, sicut Apostolus ait, in praevaricatione tua seductus non fuit (I Tim. II, 14), quia quod serpens pollicebatur, mendacium esse intellexit. Tu autem miserrime seducta (ibid.), et e vestigio multiplici perversarum cupiditatum semine imbuta, illecebrosa facundia illum ad tibi consentiendum illexisti, praesignans in hoc opere tuo veram fore futuram sententiam viri Dei, mulieres scilicet apostatare facere etiam sapientes (Eccli. XIX, 2)’; available at Patrologia Latina Database Online, accessed 30 Apr. 2012.

81 Machaut's so-called Pygmalion balade (Balade 28) references ‘desdains’. On this balade see Arlt, ‘Machauts Pygmalion Ballade’.

82 Translation in Ovid, Metamorphoses: A New Verse Translation, p. 111.

83 Brownlee, K., ‘La Polyphonie textuelle dans le Motet 7 de Machaut: Narcisse, la Rose, et la voix féminine’, in Cerquiglini-Toulet, J. and Wilkins, N. E. (eds.), Guillaume de Machaut: 1300–2000 (Paris, 2002), pp. 137–46. Also see Leach, Guillaume de Machaut, pp. 249–52 for an analysis of the gender roles and gender reversals in this motet.

84 Lorris and Meun, Le Roman de la rose, p. 47. English translation in The Romance of the Rose, trans. Dunn, p. 31. Elizabeth Eva Leach points out that the character Desdains also features in L1, L3, L13, V1, B4, in the triplum of M10 and M15, and in Magister Franciscus's De Narcissus balade.

85 Ovide moralisé, ed. de Boer, p. 341, ll. 1957–8. The Narcissus story is told at ll. 1547–1846, and the moralised version is at ll. 1847–1964 (pp. 332–40). In the Ovide moralisé, Python is also chastised for its pride (orgueil): this adjective is not present in Ovid's original description of Python; it is an addition of the medieval moralisation.

86 Ibid., p. 229, Bk. 3, ll. 1877–81.

87 Richard of Fournival uses the occasion of the ‘asp blocking his ears’ story for a long digression on the senses, in particular noting the primacy of the power of the voice. Beer, Beasts of Love, pp. 11–14.

88 Other passages in the Bible mention creatures that are identified with the basilisk. Basilisk can also be translated in Latin as ‘regula’: this is the beast encountered in Isaiah 11: 8, for example, in addition to the asp (viper). The medieval reader would have translated the Latin ‘regula’ into French as ‘basilique’. For example, Isidore's entry on the basilisk begins: ‘Basiliscus Graece, Latine interpretatur regulus, eo quod rex serpentium sit’ (‘In Greek “basiliscus”, in Latin, “regulus”, by which is meant the king of the serpents’); other entries in bestiaries and encylopedias on this creature begin the same way. In any case, the Latin word ‘basiliscus’ is only found in the Vulgate Ps. 90.

89 Patrick Macey, in his study of the Josquin motet based on Ps. 90 (Qui habitat), explores the paraliturgical uses of this psalm in the 15th c., where it was often recited before going into battle, or, in general, to combat any adversity (as one incipit from a 15th-c. book of hours indicates: ‘hic psalmus dicitur contra omnia adversa’) (pp. 10–11). Macey, P., ‘Josquin as Classic: Qui habitat, Memor esto, and Two Imitations Unmasked’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 118 (1993), pp. 143.

90 Mâle, E., The Gothic Image: Religious Art in France of the Thirteenth Century (New York, 1972), pp. 43–5. According to early commentaries (such as those by Bede and Cassiodorus), all the beasts referred to in this verse represent the devil. Anne Walters Robertson discusses some of this iconography (in particular, the woman crushing the head of the serpent with her heel) in reference to her analysis of the ‘Caput’ masses in ‘The Savior, the Woman, and the Head of the Dragon’.

91 Bernard of Clairvaux, In psalmum XC, Sermo XIII, in Patrologia Latina, ed. Migne, vol. 183, col. 236.

92 Ibid.

93 Ibid., col. 237.

94 This makes sense in the context of what Sarah Kay has termed the ‘convergence of clerical and lay interests in the courtly sphere’ and in how courtly representations of love attempted ‘to negotiate the lay and clerical interests of the various courtiers and their masters’. Kay, S., ‘Courts, Clerks and Courtly Love’, in Krueger, R. L. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Romance (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 86 and 92.

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Early Music History
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