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Dix et sept, cinq, trese, quatorse et quinse (Rondeau: from 'Le Voir Dit')

Dix et sept, cinq, trese, quatorse et quinse (Rondeau: from 'Le Voir Dit')

Dis et sept, cinq, trese, quatorse, et quinse
Ma doucement de bien amer espris,
Pris a en moy une amoureuse emprise.
Dis et sept, v, xiij, xiiij, et quinse
Pour sa bonté que chascuns loe et prise,
Et sa biauté qui seur toutes ont pris.

Ten and seven, five, thirteen, fourteen and fifteen

Seventeen, five, thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen
Has sweetly inflamed me with virtuous love,
Has captured in me a lover’s embrace.
Seventeen, five, thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen
Because of her virtue that every man esteems and praises,
And her beauty that they value above all others.

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Guillaume de Machaut is presumed to have been born around the year 1300; the first surviving documentary evidence from 1330 lists him as a ‘clerk’ in the household of John of Bohemia and suggests that he had been in service since 1323. Machaut was instated as a canon of Reims Cathedral in 1337 and established a residence in the city in 1340. During his later years he enjoyed the patronage of a number of French nobles, including the wife and son of Jean II. In his sixties he enjoyed a close relationship with a young noblewoman, a relationship he chronicled (and embellished) in a long narrative poem, Le Voir Dit, which included many of their lyrics and letters. From these we learn something of his view of his own music, and of the process by which he preserved his work for posterity. His poetry also supplies a limited degree of biographical information; he suffered from gout and was blind in one eye, yet he was evidently enthusiastic about falconry, horseback riding and the French countryside. Machaut died in Reims in 1377.

© Daniel Leech-Wilkinson


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