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Le corps s'en va et le cueur vous demeure 3v · Busnoys, Antoine

Appearance in the group of related chansonniers:

*Dijon ff. 123v-124 »Le corps s'en va et le cueur vous demeure« 3v · Edition · Facsimile

*Laborde ff. 25v-26 »Le corps s'en va et le cueur vous demeure« 3v Busnoys · Edition · Facsimile

*Leuven ff. 43v-45 »Le corps s'en va et le cueur vous demeure« 3v · Edition · Facsimile

*Nivelle ff. 54v-55 »Le corps s'en va et le cuer vous demeure« 3v Busnois · Edition · Facsimile

*Wolfenbüttel ff. 45v-46 »Le corps s'en va et le cueur vous demeure« 3v · Edition · Facsimile

Other musical source:

New Haven 91 ff. 26v-27 »Le corps s'en va et le cueur vous demeure« 3v Busnoys · Facsimile

This page with editions as a PDF

Reworkings, citations, and use in other compositions, see Fallows 1999, p. 245.

Editions: Gutiérrez-Denhoff 1988 no. 36 (Wolfenbüttel); Busnoys 2028 mo. 23 (Dijon).

Text: Rondeau cinquain; full text in Dijon, Laborde, Leuven, Nivelle and Wolfenbüttel; also found in Berlin 78.B.17 ff. 154-154v, ed.: Löpelmann 1923 p. 288; Lille 402 no. 31, ed.: Françon 1938, p. 144; Oxford F3 p. 23; Paris 1719 ff. 3, 74v-75, 182; Chasse 1509 f. P2.

After Laborde and Wolfenbüttel:

Le corps s’en va et le cueur vous demeure;
lequel veult faire avec vous sa demeure
par vous vouloir aymer tant et si fort 1)
qu’incessament veult mectre son effort 2)
a vous servir jusque a ce que je meure. 3)

Qu’il est vostre, povez estre bien seure,
car de cela, sur ma foy, vous asseure
non obstant ce que sans avoir confort.

le corps s’en va et le cueur vous demeure.

Il n’est douleur ne dueil qu’a moy n’aquere,
quant il convient que tel mal j’assaveure 4)
que m’en aller, sans avoir reconfort,
en la saison que vous deusse au plus fort
mon cas compter, et si voy qu’a ceste heure 5)

le corps s’en va et le cueur vous demeure;
lequel veult faire avec vous sa demeure
par vous vouloir aymer tant et si fort
qu’incessament veult mectre son effort
a vous servir jusque a ce que je meure.

The body departs and the heart remains with you;
it wants to stay close to you,
wishing to love you so much and so strongly
that unceasingly it will put all effort
in serving you until I have to die.

That it is yours, you can be really sure,
because of this, by my faith, I can assure you
in spite of the fact that without having comfort

the body departs and the heart remains with you.

There is no pain or grief that does not visit me
when I have to taste such sufferings
that I depart, without receiving solace,
just when you need as fast as possible to
assess my situation, and so I just now see that

the body departs and the heart remains with you;
it wants to stay close to you,
wishing to love you so much and so strongly
that unceasingly it will put all effort
in serving you until I have to die.

1) Laborde, line 3, “pour vous ...”
2) Laborde, line 4, “incessament ...”, Wolfenbüttel, “que incessament ...”
3) Laborde; line 5, “... servir amer ains que je meure”
4) Wolfenbüttel, line 11, “... mal assaveure”
5) Wolfenbüttel, line 16, “mon mal conter ...”

After Dijon:

Le corps s’en va et le cueur vous demeure;
lequel veult faire avec vous sa demeure 1)
pour vous vouloir aymer tant et si fort 2)
qu’incessament veult mectre son effort
a vous servir jusque a ce que je meure. 3)

Il est vostre, povez estre bien seure, 4)
et le sera tousjours, je vous asseure, 5)
combien qu'attende de mon mal confort 6)

le corps s’en va et le cueur vous demeure.

Il n’est douleur ne deul qu’a moy n’aqueure
quant il convient que ses maulx je saveure 7)
et m’en aller sans avoir reconfort 8)
a l’eure que deusse venir au fort 9)
mon mal compter, que je voi qu’a ceste heure

le corps s’en va et le cueur vous demeure;
lequel veult faire avec vous sa demeure
pour vous vouloir aymer tant et si fort
qu’incessament veult mectre son effort
a vous servir jusque a ce que je meure.

The body departs and the heart remains with you;
it wants to stay close to you,
wishing to love you so much and so strongly
that unceasingly it will put all effort
in serving you until I have to die.

It is yours, you can be really sure,
and forever it will be so, I can assure you
however long I may await relief from my pain,

that the body departs and the heart remains with you.

There is no pain or grief that does not visit me
when I have to taste these sufferings
and to depart without receiving solace
just when I need to quickly
assess my suffering, since I just now see that

the body departs and the heart remains with you;
it wants to stay close to you,
wishing to love you so much and so strongly
that unceasingly it will put all effort
in serving you until I have to die.

1) Leuven, line 2, “... veult avecques vous faire sa demeure” (error)
2) Leuven, line 3, “par vous ...”
3) Nivelle, line 5, “... a ce qu’il meure”
4) Leuven, line 6, “Qu’il est ...”, Nivelle, “... vostre bien povez estre seure"
5) Nivelle, line 7 “car de cela tousjours ...”
6) Nivelle, line 8, “... mal ung confort" (error?)
7) Leuven, line 11, “... que ces motz assaveure”, Nivelle “... il fault que ses griefz maulx j’assaveure”
8) Leuven, line 12, “... avoir confort” (error)
9) Nivelle, lines 13-14, “... deusse vivre acort / vous voyez en quel point suis a toute heure:” (just when I need to find approval, / you can see the situation I am in always:)

Evaluation of the sources:

The rondeau was copied into five of the ‘Loire Valley’ chansonniers by their main scribes, and in two of them, Laborde and Nivelle, Busnoys was indicated as its composer. This attribution is confirmed by its appearance in the contemporary Neapolitan chansonnier in New Haven, Yale University, Beineke Library, MS 91 (Mellon Chansonnier). The song must have been in circulation for quite a long time before its reached the chansonniers, as its transmission had split into two different traditions as regards musical details as well as its poetic text.

The Laborde and Wolfenbüttel chansonniers preserve a version, which – in spite of a number of writing errors in both sources – very well could be copied after the same exemplar or from closely related exemplars, and they present the same version of the poem – the one favoured by the collections of poetry, MS and printed. The differences in the poem in the other sources appear primarily in the short couplet and in the tierce. They do not change the meaning in any notable way; in Dijon, Leuven and Nivelle they give the impression of slightly different reproductions of what the scribes remembered of the wording (see above). Musically, the Laborde/Wolfenbüttel version also seems to be most consistent in handling of text setting and musical details.

Three shared instances among many varying details and differences in use of coloration and ligatures make it easy to discern the four other sources from the Laborde/Wolfenbüttel version:

1. Tenor and contratenor have a dotted minima followed by two fusae in bar 6.1 instead of the calmer but dissonant counterpoint.
2. Tenor bars 20.2-21.1 sings two semibreves instead of a brevis making the text underlay slightly uncomfortable.
3. Contratenor bar 23, two semibreves instead of a brevis with a similar effect as in the preceding point.

Nivelle and Dijon have two further differences in common. In bar 20.2 they have a semibrevis in the upper voice instead of a minima rest and a minima upbeat, which sets off the last word before the middle cadence. And in the contratenor bars 27.2-28 four semibreves replace the elegant dotted figures in all the other sources.

Laborde and Wolfenbüttel are without hexachordal signatures and indicate, especially in Wolfenbüttel, the changes in colour by accidental flats (the signature flat in the upper voice of Wolfenbüttel is obviously an error). Nivelle agrees with this, while Dijon has a flat signature in the first two staves of the contratenor; Leuven has a flat in the contratenor all the way through and introduces flat signatures in the upper voices in the rondeau’s second section (bb. 32 ff). The flats in Dijon and Leuven, if taken prescriptively, change the tonal balance of the song by altering its symmetrical opening and closing with music dominated by C- and G-hexachords.

It is difficult to speculate about an original version of the song. As mentioned, the Laborde/Wolfenbüttel version seems most consistent. The first of the main differences mentioned above could obviously be a revision in order to remove offending dissonances, but the two next (points 2-3 above) are hard to regard as revisions as they make the words more difficult to perform; they seem rather like scribal inaccuracies somewhere in the line of transmission.

If we regard the Laborde/Wolfenbüttel version as the one probably closest to the original, Dijon and Nivelle must be placed farthest from this model with Leuven in a middle position; the Mellon version then belongs somewhere close to Leuven (published in Perkins 1979, vol. 1, p. 88).

Comments on text and music:

The upper voice is clearly intended for a male singer in the range a-c'. It forms a duet with a tenor sounding mainly an octave lower and of a wide range, A-e'. Its concords with the upper voice extend from unison to an octave and a sixth, but with parallel sixths as the prevailing interval. The contratenor is placed a bit lower, F-b, and weaves around the tenor.

This darkly sounding polyphony in D Dorian sets a male love complaint in rimes léonines, very near equivoques – remark the assured use of “demeure” both as a verb and as a substantive in the opening of the poem. It demands a short refrain after the first couplet, and the music conforms perfectly to this by the strong cadence on the finalis after the first line.

The setting is varied with imitation at the octave between superius and tenor alternating with declamatory polyphony. The opening gets its character from the stepwise ascending imitation motive using the low end of the ranges of the core voices followed by a stepwise descent to the first cadence, all in the realm of the combined C- and G-hexachords – I am discussing the Laborde/Wolfenbüttel version. An important change in sound appears with the introduction of the low B-flat in the tenor bar 14.2, which is marked by an accidental in Dijon, Leuven, Nivelle and Wolfenbüttel. This expansion of the tonal space distinguish the whole middle part of the song.

The low-key mood changes just before the middle cadence. By “aymer tant et si fort" the core voices suddenly reach their highest register, and stay there for the opening af the second section. The fourth line “Incessament veult mectre son effort" is a canonic imitation of a motive based on a descending triad entirely within the combined C- and F-hexachords establishing a complete contrast to the song’s opening. After this F tonal excitement the voices descend in stepwise imitation and end in a low murmuring. Busnoys has perfectly captured the lover’s vacillation between self-indulgent remorse and overblown promises.

PWCH November 2022