Thursday, June 12, 2014


The Choice Between Heaven and Hell

Aucassin and Nicolette 6 (f. 71d; Aucassin speaking; tr. Andrew Lang):
In Paradise what have I to win? Therein I seek not to enter, but only to have Nicolete, my sweet lady that I love so well. For into Paradise go none but such folk as I shall tell thee now: Thither go these same old priests, and halt old men and maimed, who all day and night cower continually before the altars, and in the crypts; and such folk as wear old amices and old clouted frocks, and naked folk and shoeless, and covered with sores, perishing of hunger and thirst, and of cold, and of little ease. These be they that go into Paradise, with them have I naught to make. But into Hell would I fain go; for into Hell fare the goodly clerks, and goodly knights that fall in tourneys and great wars, and stout men at arms, and all men noble. With these would I liefly go. And thither pass the sweet ladies and courteous that have two lovers, or three, and their lords also thereto. Thither goes the gold, and the silver, and cloth of vair, and cloth of gris, and harpers, and makers, and the prince of this world. With these I would gladly go, let me but have with me Nicolete, my sweetest lady.

En paradis qu'ai je a faire? Je n'i quier entrer, mais que j'aie Nicolete ma tresdouce amie que j'aim tant. C'en paradis ne vont fors tex gens, con je vous dirai. Il i vont cil viel prestre et cil viel clop et cil manke qui totejor et tote nuit cropent devant ces autex et en ces viés creutes, et cil a ces viés capes esreses et a ces viés tatereles vestues, qui sont nu et descauc et estrumelé, qui moeurent de faim et de soi et de froit et de mesaises. Icil vont en paradis; aveuc ciax n'ai jou que faire. Mais en infer voil jou aler; car en infer vont li bel clerc, et li bel cevalier qui sont mort as tornois et a rices gueres, et li boin sergant et li franc home. Aveuc ciax voil jou aler. Et s'i vont les beles dames cortoises, que eles ont deus amis ou trois avoc leur barons, et s'i va li ors et li argens et li vairs et li gris, et si i vont harpeor et jogleor et li roi del siecle. Avoc ciax voil jou aler, mais que j'aie Nicolete ma tresdouce amie, aveuc mi.

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