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Machaut's peer, Thomas Paien


One of the texts of Machaut's double balade, Quant Theseus/Ne quier (B34) is ascribed in Machaut's Voir dit to a certain Thomas Paien. The present article suggests that this Thomas was one of Machaut's peers, being like him a canon of Reims and a court secretary. Figures with similar names (and the pervasive idea that a character cited in a work of fiction might not be a real person at all) have confused earlier attempts at identification. A possible occasion for the composition of B34's texts – also involving a balade on the same refrain by Jehan Froissart – can be found in a shared patron–client link between Machaut and Thomas, both of whom had associations with John, Duke of Berry.

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1 See extracts in the Appendix. The composition of other works in the Voir dit is also discussed; see Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, ‘Le Voir Dit: A Reconstruction and a Guide for Musicians’, Plainsong and Medieval Music, 2 (1993), 103–40.

2 Line numbers are those in Daniel Leech-Wilkinson and R. Barton Palmer, eds., Guillaume de Machaut: Le livre dou voir dit (The Book of the True Poem) (New York, 1998), which is, however, missing three lines in Guillaume's complaint (after ll.6123, 6141 and 6167). Paul Imbs, Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet and Noël Musso, eds., Guillaume de Machaut: Le Livre du Voir Dit (Le Dit véridique) (Paris, 1999) has different lineation because it does not expand the formal repetitions of the lyrics in full. Letters are omitted from the line number count in both editions, since they are written as prose (and thus have different lineation in different sources). The first meeting between Guillaume and Toute Belle occurs between letters 10 and 11; the last occurs between letters 18 and 19.

3 This incident becomes the inspiration for the last musical piece interpolated in the dit, Se pour ce muir (B36), whose refrain is ‘Quen lieu de bleu dame vous vestez vert’ (Since instead of blue, lady, you are wearing green).

4 Leech-Wilkinson hypothesises that this is Puis qu'en oubli (R18); see Leech-Wilkinson and Palmer, eds., Le livre dou voir dit, 737, n. 10.

5 An early strand of commentary understands the ‘Thomas’ named in this letter to refer to Toute Belle's brother, who is elsewhere designated by the initials ‘Th.’ or ‘T.’ (see the comments about Tarbé's view in Georg Hanf, ‘Über Guillaume de Machauts Voir Dit’, Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie, 22 (1898), 145–96, at 156), although there seems to be no compelling evidence for this.

6 Leech-Wilkinson and Palmer, eds., Le livre dou voir dit, 436.

7 Ibid., ll.6344–6463.

8 On the genesis of B33, see Ardis Butterfield, ‘The Art of Repetition: Machaut's Ballade 33, Nes qu'on porroit’, Early Music, 31/3 (2003), 347–60.

9 ‘Je voy assez puis que ie voy ma dame’ (I see enough, because/when I see my lady).

10 The former in A and F; the latter in Pm. The full shelfmarks for the manuscripts here denominated by the standard Machaut sigla are given in Lawrence Earp, Guillaume de Machaut: A Guide to Research, Garland Composer Resource Manuals, 36 (New York, 1995).

11 The former in A; the latter in Pm. The rubricator of F substitutes the far more usual rubrication ‘Rondel’ for the word ‘response’, bizarrely prefacing this with the word ‘Balade’, but is otherwise similar to A. In the music section of the manuscripts the order of the texts is somewhat different. In the earliest copies (Vg and B) the song is copied across an entire opening, with Ne quier, the tenor, and the text residuum for stanzas 2–3 of Ne quier on the verso, and Quant Theseus, the contratenor, and stanzas 2–3 of Quant Theseus's residuum on the recto. Manuscript G, which is in a two-column format, has a similar layout: Ne quier, then the tenor, followed by the rest of Ne quier's text, and then Quant Theseus, the contratenor, and the rest of its text. A has a slight variant, with Ne quier, the tenor, and contratenor on the verso, and Quant Theseus on the recto, followed by the text of stanzas 2–3 for Quant Theseus, and then those of Ne quier. However, the two legible sources outside the Machaut manuscripts (Ch and PR) copy the poems in the same order as they are presented in the narrative: Quant Theseus first (followed by the tenor), and then Ne quier (followed by the contratenor). These sources lack the rest of the text, but this layout is also found in E, which then copies the second and third stanzas of the poems in the same order (Thomas's before Machaut's). And, as noted above, this is the order of the text residuum in the music section of A, even though Ne quier is copied first in the music. These differences in order are intriguing given Guillaume's emphasis in the Voir dit on Quant Theseus having been written first.

12 Paulin Paris, ed., Le livre du Voir-dit de Guillame de Machaut: où sont contées les amours de Messire Guillaume de Machaut & de Peronnelle dame d'Armentières, avec les lettres & les réponses, les ballades, lais & rondeaux du dit Guillaume & de ladite Peronnelle (Paris, 1875), 274. Paris comments that these poems are a ‘lutte poétique dans laquelle Machaut avoit bien voulu laisser à son concurrent tout l'avantage’ (poetic combat in which Machaut allowed his opponent all the advantage). Asking who this ‘Thibaut’ is, he notes only that the Rules of the Second Rhetoric treatise does not name him among the poets who flourished at this time (p. 275).

13 Friedrich Ludwig, ed., Guillaume de Machaut: Musikalische Werke (Leipzig, 1926–1954), 2: 69*, note to 57*. This is, in fact, my Thomas B; see n.32 below.

14 Jacqueline Cerquiglini, ‘Le nouveau lyricisme (XIVe–XVe siècle)’, in Précis de littérature française du Moyen Âge, ed. Daniel Poirion (Paris, 1983), 275–92, at p. 288: ‘Thomas Paien (peut-être Eustache Deschamps)’.

15 James I. Wimsatt, Chaucer and his French Contemporaries: Natural Music in the Fourteenth Century (Toronto and Buffalo, 1991), 181–2. The imitation of Machaut's poem by Jehan Froissart and Froissart's by Chaucer (see ibid., 182–4) might hint at a more developed competition (see below).

16 Machaut either decided to sound mischievously un-Machauldian or perhaps even reattributed the poems in the Voir dit, generously ascribing his own to Thomas and Thomas's more list-like effort (much closer rhetorically to Froissart's balade on the same refrains; see below) to himself. Decent readings of the effect could be made in either case.

17 See the corrective to the common assumption of Machaut's residency in Reims before 1358 or 1359 in Roger Bowers, ‘Guillaume de Machaut and His Canonry of Reims, 1338–1377’, Early Music History, 23 (2004), 1–48.

18 Earp, Guillaume de Machaut, 19, item 1.6.1g gives the date as 1337. This is corrected in Bowers, ‘Guillaume de Machaut’, 7 (see especially n. 16), to 1338 NS. Problems of dating are beset by the difference in the start of the year, which was reckoned differently in Reims than at its cathedral; see ibid., 7–8, n. 17.

19 See Earp, Guillaume de Machaut, 50, item 1.18.1a.

20 This is argued with conviction in Bowers, ‘Guillaume de Machaut’. The probable size of Machaut's house as identified in the document from 1372 would have made it ideal for lodging and entertaining nobles and their retinues, but whether he was living there a decade earlier is unknown. In letter 35 in the Voir dit Guillaume complains to Toute Belle that he has been prevented from working on her poem (the Voir dit itself) because of the comings and goings, late nights and early mornings caused by the presence of the Duke of Bar and several other lords who are staying in his house. Commentary in the early seventeenth-century Mémoires of Jehan Rogier refers to Charles, Duke of Normandy meeting with the aldermen of Reims at Machaut's house to attempt to resolve a dispute between the archbishop, Jean de Craon, and Gaucher de Chastillon, the captain of Reims. See Lawrence Earp, ‘Machaut's Role in the Production of his Works’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 42 (1989), 461–503, and Guillaume de Machaut, 44, item 1.15.1a.

21 Pierre Desportes, Diocèse de Reims, Fasti Ecclesiae Gallicanae: Répertoire prosopographique des évêques, dignitaires et chanoines des diocèses de France de 1200 à 1500, 3 (Turnhout, 1998), 544, no. 287. Vincent Tabbagh, Diocèse de Rouen, Fasti Ecclesiae Gallicanae: Répertoire prosopographique des évêques, dignitaires et chanoines des diocèses de France de 1200 à 1500, 2 (Turnhout, 1998), 379, no. 392.

22 Desportes, Diocèse de Reims, 544.

23 D. Ursmer Berlière O.S.B., Suppliques d'Innocent VI (1352–1362): textes et analyses, Analecta Vaticano-Belgica, 5 (Paris, 1911), 714–15, nos. 1764–1765; and Alphonse Fierens, Suppliques d'Urbain V (1362–1370): textes et analyses, Analecta Vaticano-Belgica, 7 (Paris, 1914), 139, no. 466. On Machaut and John, Duke of Berry see Earp, Guillaume de Machaut, 40–2.

24 ‘suppliant … que luy plaise pourveoir a nostre amé secrétaire maistre Thomas Paien de la prouvende et chancellerie de Rouen, que renoit maistre Benoit Caillemouton nostre clerc, dont il n'a point encore ordené' (supplicating … that it please him to provide to our well-beloved secretary, Master Thomas Paien [some benefit] from the revenues and chancellorship of Rouen, which Master Benoit Caillemouton our clerk has resigned, of which there has not yet been the re-assignment’); Berlière, Suppliques d'Innocent VI, 714, no. 1764.

25 ‘Dignemini sibi providere de canonicatu et prebenda ecclesie Morinensis, reservatis et vacantibus per obitum Egidii Vaguel in Romana curia defuncti; non obstantibus beneficiis quibuscumque in vestra vicecancellaria exprimendis’ (that upon [Thomas Paien] there be conferred the canonry and prebend of the [cathedral] church of Thérouanne, reserved [to papal collation] and vacant by the death of Gilles Vaguel, deceased within the Roman Curia, notwithstanding whatever other benefices are to be issued [to him] of your vice-chancery); ibid., 715, no. 1765.

26 ‘dilecto suo Thome Pagani, dicti ducis et sui secretario’, Fierens, Suppliques d'Urbain V, 139, no. 466.

27 ‘cui de canonicatu et prebenda ecclesie Morinensis tunc in curia vacantibus necnon de canonicatu sub expectatione prebende ecclesie Silvanectensis per Innocentium predecessorem vestrum intuitu dicti ducis fuit provisum, licet non venerit ad effectum’; see ibid., 139, no. 466.

28 Ibid., 139, no. 466.

29 Thomas A is also listed as in possession of canonries and prebends at the collegiate church of Saint Pierre of Gerberoy in the diocese of Beauvais, the collegiate church of St-Sauveur of Hérisson in the diocese of Bourges, and the rectory of the parish church in Ypreville in the diocese of Rouen (‘Remensi, de Gelboredo et de Hericione, Belvacensis et Bituricensis diocesum, ecclesiis canonicatus et prebendas ac parrochialem ecclesiam de Yprevilla, Rothomagensis diocesis, noscitur obtinere’), ibid., 139, no. 466.

30 Tabbagh, Diocèse de Rouen, p. 379 no. 392.

31 Roger Bowers (private communication) notes that the remit of the diocesan ‘vidame’ was so broad and all-encompassing that in England his equivalent was called simply ‘the bishop's Official’.

32 Ludwig, ed., Guillaume de Machaut: Musikalische Werke, 2: 69*, note to p. 57*, contains a typographical error: he cites volume two of the Chartularium universitatis parisiensis, but the publication date and page number he gives seems to relate to volume three, which covers the dates 1350–94. He clearly meant to cite Henri Denifle O.P. and Émile Chatelain, Chartularium universitatis parisiensis (Paris, 1894), 3: 433 and 438, alongside P. Fournier, ‘Harangues d'apparat des Écoles de Droit’, in C.V. Langlois, ed., Suite du Quatorzième siècle, Histoire littéraire de la France, 36 (Paris, 1927), 521–31 at 526, n. 1.

33 Denifle and Chatelain, Chartularium universitatis parisiensis, 3: 344–9.

34 Les membres de l'école française de Rome and Marie-Hyacinthe Laurent, Urbain V (1362–1370): Lettres communes analysées d'après les registres dits d'Avignon et du Vatican, Lettres communes des papes du XIVe siècle, 1: Fascicules I–V (Paris, 1954–1958), 440, no. 3902; Les membres de l'école française de Rome and Michel Hayez, Urbain V (1362–1370): Lettres communes analysées d'après les registres dits d'Avignon et du Vatican, Lettres communes des papes du XIVe siècle, 2: Fascicules I–IV (Paris, 1964–1972), 348, no. 7533; Michel Hayez et al., Urbain V (1362–1370): Lettres communes analysées d'après les registres dits d'Avignon et du Vatican, Lettres communes des papes du XIVe siècle, 6 (Rome, 1980), 292, no. 20141; Michel Hayez et al., Urbain V (1362–1370): Lettres communes analysées d'après les registres dits d'Avignon et du Vatican, Lettres communes des papes du XIVe siècle, 9 (Rome, 1983), 42, no. 23206; 469, no. 27514; 352, no. 27016; 77, no. 25824; 476, no. 27545; 99, no. 25930; Anne-Marie Hayez et al., Grégoire XI (1370–1378): Lettres communes analysées d'après les registres dits d'Avignon et du Vatican, Lettres communes des papes du XIVe siècle, 1 (Rome, 1992), 369, no. 4201. In subsequent citations here, references to these documents will be cited by Pope and volume number.

35 Urbain V, 9: 42, no. 23206: ‘Thome Pagani utruisque jur. doct., qui in studio Parisien. in jure can. actu de mane legit, consideratione Guillermi, s. Clementis presbyt. card., cujus familiaris et procurator in partibus Rothomagen. existit, canonicatus et prebenda ecc. Rothomagen., vac. per obitum ext. Rom. cur. Hugonis de Castanea, capellani Sed. Apost., conferuntur. non obst. quod parroch. ecclesiam de Norto, Nanneten. dioc., et in eccl. Andegaven. canonicatum sub expect. preb. auctoritate litt. apost. obtineat, cassis litt. apost. per quas in eccl. Nanneten. canonicatum obtinet et prebendam expectat.’

36 Guillermus de la Jugié (ca. 1317/1318–1374), nephew of Pope Clement VI, was trained as a lawyer. See, which lists its sources.

37 Urbain V, 1: 440, no. 3902 ‘Thome Pagani, can. Nanneten., in utr. jure licent., Parisius decretales actu legenti, canonicatus eccl. Nannenten., cum reserv. prebende, conferatur, non obst. quod parroch. eccl. de Nort, Nanneten. dioc., noscatur obtinere’.

38 Urbain V, 9: 469, no. 27514. This correctly notes Thomas B as a subdeacon.

39 A further piece of evidence records on 14 January 1363 the conferral, ‘following examination, upon Thomas Pagani, rector of the parish church of Nort, in the diocese of Nantes, licentiate in laws, bachelor of canon law and a student of the university of Paris, a canonry of the [cathedral] church of Angers, with reservation of a prebend’, Urbain V, 2: 348 no. 7533; ‘Episcopo Belvacen. mandatur ut, post examinationem, Thomas Pagani, rect. parroch. eccl. de Norco, Nanneten. dioc., licent. in leg. in jure can. bac. et in studio Parisiensi studens, de canonicatu eccl. Andegaven., cum reserv. prebende, provideatur’. The prebend was duly conferred on 1 April 1368; see Urbain V, 9: 476, no. 27545. Thomas B is almost certainly the individual mentioned in Ludwig's other cited authority (Fournier, ‘Harangues d'apparat’, 526, n. 1) as the author of repetitiones contained in manuscripts of legal teaching materials and ‘harangues’ associated with the University of Paris in the latter half of the fourteenth century.

40 Leech-Wilkinson and Palmer, eds., Le livre dou voir dit, 740, n. 15, referencing François Avril et al., Urbain V (1362–1370): Lettres communes analysées d'après les registres dits d'Avignon et du Vatican, Lettres communes des papes du XIVe siècle, 3, Fascicules I–II (Rome, 1974–1976), 98. Leech-Wilkinson and Palmer cite the only entry for Thomas Paien listed in the Lettres communes index for this Pope on p. 541 of vol. 11. They appear to have overlooked the many more listings on the previous page for Thomas Pagani, from whom the editors of Lettres communes have very sensibly differentiated Leech-Wilkinson and Palmer's Paien.

41 Denifle and Chatelain, Chartularium universitatis parisiensis, 2: 161–6. A more recent edition is given in William J. Courtenay, ‘Foreign Scholars at Paris in the Early Fourteenth Century: The Crisis of 1313’, History of Universities, 15 (1997–1999), 47–74, at 59–74.

42 Such collections were generally organised to offset costs arising from legal defence of university privileges. However, both the reason for this particular payment and the result of the appeal are unknown. ‘Thomas Paganni’ is first in the list of signatories on the last day, 11 May 1313; see Courtenay, ‘Foreign Scholars at Paris in the Early Fourteenth century’, 64.

43 J.-M. Vidal, Benoit XII (1334–1342): Lettres communes analysées d'aprés les registres dits d'Avignon et du Vatican, 1 (Paris, 1903), 77, no. 755: ‘In eccl. Dolen., obtentu Joannis, ep. i, et capit., mag. Thomae Pagani, L.D. et in decr. lic., de fidelissimis et nobilibus procreato, paroch. eccl. de Plenafilgeria, Dolen. di., (50 lib. tur.) rectori’.

44 See Françoise Autrand, Jean de Berry: l'art et le pouvoir (Paris, 2000); Marcel Thomas, The Golden Age: Manuscript Painting at the Time of Jean, Duc de Berry (London, 1979); and Léopold Delisle, Recherches sur la librairie de Charles V, 2 vols. (Paris, 1907), vol. 2, which is subtitled ‘Inventaire des livres ayant appartenu aux rois Charles V et Charles VI et à Jean, duc de Berry’.

45 See Earp, Guillaume de Machaut; and Bowers, ‘Guillaume de Machaut’.

46 See Earp, Guillaume de Machaut, 40, n. 157 and 220–2.

47 See the edition of the text and translation in R. Barton Palmer, ed., Guillaume de Machaut: The Fountain of Love (La Fonteinne Amoureuse) and Two Other Love Vision Poems (New York and London, 1993).

48 During this period, John was given safe conduct to travel back to France on a number of occasions and minstrels from his court also travelled between France and England to aid in the administration of his estates. See Andrew Wathey, ‘The Peace of 1360-1369 and Anglo-French Musical Relations’, Early Music History, 9 (1989), 129–74, at 136; Earp, Guillaume de Machaut, 41; and Françoise Lehoux, Jean de France, duc de Berri: sa vie, son action politique (1340–1416), 4 vols. (Paris, 1966–1968), 1: 160ff.

49 Earp, Guillaume de Machaut, 17, item 1.6.1b. For a recent study of the function of French royal almoners, see Xavier de la Selle, Le service des âmes à la cour: confesseurs et aumôniers des rois de France du XIIIe au XVe siècle (Paris, 1995). Malcolm Vale, The Princely Court: Medieval Courts and Culture in North-West Europe 1270-1380 (Oxford, 2001), 258–9, points out that court culture's diversity in this period means that it ‘has as much to do with the use and function of textiles, plate, and jewellery, the role of ritual and ceremony, and the distribution of alms and oblations, as with books, panel and wall paintings, music, and the other arts. “High” art was so often an integral part of these activities that it makes little sense to consider it apart from them’. The centrality of Largesse in Machaut's courtly doctrine seems, to me, a reflection of the formative role of the almoner in his thinking. See Elizabeth Eva Leach, ‘Guillaume de Machaut, Royal Almoner: Honte, paour (B25) and Donnez, Signeurs (B26) in Context’, Early Music, 38 (forthcoming, 2010).

50 Vale, The Princely Court, 168–9.

51 See la Selle, Le service des âmes. An almoner's purse is pictured in Vale, The Princely Court, before p. 271 as plate 37.

52 Ibid., 168–9.

53 Ibid., 236 notes precedents for almoners being involved in the court's literary life; on the specific case of Nicole de Gavrelle, see Janet F. van der Meulen, ‘De panter en de aalmoezenier: Dichtkunst rond het Hollands-Henegouwse hof’, in Een zoet akkoord: Middeleeuwse lyriek in de Lage Landen, ed. Frank Willaert (Amsterdam, 1992), 93–108 and 343–8. For a later fourteenth-century example, see Guy Ouy, ‘Le songe et les ambitions d'un jeune humaniste parisien vers 1395’, in Miscellanea di studi e richerche sul Quattrocento francese, ed. F. Simone (Turin, 1967), 357–407.

54 See Ruth Mazo Karras, From Boys to Men: Formations of Masculinity in Late Medieval Europe (Philadelphia, 2003), 20–66 (‘Mail Bonding: Knights, Ladies, and the Proving of Manhood’).

55 Simon Gaunt, Gender and Genre in Medieval French Literature (Cambridge, 1995), 149–50, notes that ‘the poem is a symbol of virility which enables the poet to assert his masculinity’ and that ‘linguistic prowess as a sign of masculinity is associated particularly with the lyric’.

56 On the meanings of the polytextuality of the motets, see Jacques Boogaart, ‘“O Series Summe Rata”: De Motetten van Guillaume de Machaut: De Ordening van het Corpus en de Samenhang van Tekst en Muziek’, Ph.D. diss., University of Utrecht (2001); Thomas Brown, ‘Another Mirror of Lovers? Order, Structure and Allusion in Machaut's Motets’, Plainsong and Medieval Music, 10 (2001), 121–34; and Anne Walters Robertson, Guillaume de Machaut and Reims: Context and Meaning in his Musical Works (Cambridge, 2002).

57 I consider the meanings of polytextuality in Machaut's songs in more detail in Elizabeth Eva Leach, ‘Music and verbal meaning: Machaut's polytextual songs’, Speculum (forthcoming).

58 The start of the refrain is a case in point; the voice carrying Thomas's poem is in a contrapuntal relation with the third voice, the contratenor, rather than with the tenor. For a more thorough exposition of these points, see Elizabeth Eva Leach, ‘Machaut's Balades with Four Voices’, Plainsong and Medieval Music, 10/2 (2001), 47–79, at 58–65.

59 Machaut's contemporaries noticed Machaut's own promotion of his poetic prowess in this piece, despite the pose of humility. Many of its features recur in the only other double balade in four parts to have survived from this period and which is clearly based on it, the déploration of Machaut's death by F. Andrieu and Eustache Deschamps.

60 An edition and translation of Froissart's poem can be found in Kirsten M. Figg and R. Barton Palmer, eds., Jean Froissart: An Anthology of Narrative and Lyric Poetry (New York and London, 2001), 103–265. See also Wimsatt, Chaucer and his French Contemporaries, 180–1.

61 Ibid., 180–1.

62 The evidence relating John, Duke of Berry and Thomas A is from the period of John's captivity and refers to Thomas as an established and well-loved secretary. It seems unlikely that John would have thought it wise to make a new appointment while abroad; those servants attested during his captivity would most likely have been those already in his employ.

63 This specificity, however, would not have precluded the lady being interpreted allegorically so as to represent any range of people, things, places or abstract ideas associated with home for any number of the extended familia about to embark for England.

64 Leech-Wilkinson and Palmer, eds., Le livre dou voir dit, l.6491: ‘De ces .ij. dis lonc temps a fais’.

I am extremely grateful to Roger Bowers for his generous help disentangling the Thomases in an earlier draft of this paper; the translations of Latin presented here are largely based on his. I would also like to thank Giuliano Di Bacco, Christina Story, and the anonymous reader for other suggestions.

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