Pierre Gringore's Menus Propos des Amoureux and Richard de Fournival's Bestiaire d'Amour

Florence McCulloch

Romance Notes, 10:1, 1968, 150-159

"On the page following the title S'ensuyent les menus propos mere Sote and Pierre Gringore's woodcut device of 'La Mere Sotte' surrounded by his motto, Raison partout, par tout raison, tout par raison, is another woodcut. This one depicts a scholar bending over a book; on the sage's shoulders stands a small woman, naked but for her long, floating hair; in each hand this curiously placed person holds measuring instruments. The legend reveals her identity: 'Raison dessus la figure de Aristote,' and accompanying verses elaborate: Raison suis, subtille et argute, / Qui du faulx et du vray dispute, / Et [je] reprime[r] toutes injures, / Les faulx poix et faulces mesures. / Quitement prosperera / Qui par moy se gouvernera. What has this sententious introduction to a series of brief works first printed in Paris in 1521, to do with the mid-thirteenth century, galantly inspired Bestiaire d'Amour composed by Richard de Fournival? The thirteenth and longest item in Gringore's miscellaneous collection of moralistic verse is entitled Les Menus Propos des amoureux qui n'ont la grace joir de leurs dames, figurez sur les hommes, bestes et oyseaulx selon leur nature et complexion. It is this didactic; defense of unrequited lovers - apparently studied only by Charles Oulmont in his substantial biography of the generally pedestrian poet and playwright, Pierre Gringore-which we shall examine. A more precise source than the one indicated by Oulmont almost sixty years ago will be suggested, and we shall also attempt to identify the very manuscript that Gringore saw and used as the point of departure for his composition. In conclusion, we shall briefly treat the remarkable series of woodcuts which illustrate the poem." - McCulloch

Language: English


Last update December 6, 2021