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Seulement une fois le jour 3v · Anonymous

Appearance in the five chansonniers:

*Copenhagen ff. 14v-15 »Seulement une fois le jour« 3v PDF - Facsimile

*Dijon ff. 115v-116 »Seulement une fois le jour« 3v PDF · Facsimile

Edition: Jeppesen 1927 no. 12 (Copenhagen).

Text: Rondeau quatrain, full text in both sources:

Seulement une fois le jour,
je vous supplie que vous voye
affin que sans cesser je soye
en plaisant et joyeulx sejour.

Et pour me faire ung bon tour,
pour Dieu, que ung regard on m'envoye. (1)

Seulement une fois le jour,
je vous supplie que vous voye.

Se Fortune, ma gente amour,
ailleurs que d'icy me desvoye,
pour tout le bien qu'avoir pourroye,
pensez mon cas jusqu’au retour. (2)

Seulement une fois le jour,
je vous supplie que vous voye
affin que sans cesser je soye
en plaisant et joyeulx sejour.

Only to see you once every day,
I beg you,
so that I incessantly can be
in a pleasant and happy mood.

And if you would do me a good turn
then, by God, send me a glance.

Only to see you once every day,
I beg you.

If Fortune, my noble love,
should send me somewhere else,
then, for all the happiness I might have had,
ponder my case until I return.

Only to see you once every day,
I beg you,
so that I incessantly can be
in pleasant and happy mood.

1) Dijon “pourdieu qui regart on m'envoie”
2) Cop 291 og Dijon  "jusques au".

Evaluation of the sources:

The Dijon scribe has made two nearly identical and faultless copies of the same exemplar. They only differ in the orthography as the scribe preferred to spell the rime “voie/soie/m’envoie /desvoie/pourroie” with an “i” in Dijon, and in Copenhagen with an “y”; he also made the second line of the couplet clearer in Copenhagen (see above).

Comments on text and music:

This chanson is in reality a unicum, as the two copies just as well can be regarded as representing one single source. It is easy to understand why the Dijon scribe chose it for the Copenhagen collection. It is a masterly piece. The rather slight and conventional rondeau quatrain is transformed into elegant music by clever use of the dotted figure in alle parts and spun out with a quizzical eye on the poetical text. The staggered entries of the voices in the second line (bars 14-16) exposes the top notes of the tenor part and makes the important words “supplie/qu’ung regard/que d’icy” very audible (as an echo of superius bb. 16-17), and possibly makes fun of them! The blunt three-part imitation of the triadic motive at the start of the rondeau’s second section does not show much confidence in the lover’s expectations, and his vision of bliss is then spelt out in long notes in the upper voice in quite an unusual way – really quite funny. The high contratenor often crosses above the tenor and is fully integrated in the ironical musical exegesis of the poem.

David Fallows mentions (Fallows 1999, p. 94) that the opening of the chanson »A viro mie de deul« (Bologna Q16 ff. 50v-51 and Paris 15123 ff. 142v-143 »Auro me de deul«; both sources have text incipits only) quotes »Seulement une fois«. This quote only concerns bb. 1-4 of the superius and the first five notes of the tenor, nothing else in this chanson shows any awareness of »Seulement une fois«. The identity of the quite conventional opening gestures is probably fortuitous.

PWCH February 2009