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Quant de vous seulle je pers la venue 3v · Anonymous

Source:

*Cop 1848 pp. 222-223 »Quant de vous seulle je pers la venue« 3v PDF · Facsimile

Edition: Christoffersen 1994, vol. III no. 4.

Text: Rondeau cinquain; full text. The poem takes as its model the rondeau set by Ockeghem »Quant de vous seul je pers la veue« in the Dijon chansonnier, ff. 36v-37; this rondeau is also found in Verard 1501 f. 91. Most of the refrain has been retained in the new poem and likewise many of the rime words in the remainder, but the meaning has been changed. The rewriting is not very skillfully done. There are lines of irregular numbers of syllables, and the sixth line does not rime; the composer/poet could just have used the end of the original’s line 7 “soubz la nue” for this line, but maybe “lune” has crept in during the song’s transmission during two generations. Compare the two versions of the poems here below.

Quant de vous seulle je pers la venue 1)
de qui tant chier suis tenue, 2)
Dieu scet le deul qu’alors m’assault
qu’a peu que le cueur ne me fault,
tant suis de deul fort esperdue.

Plus doulente n’a soubz la lune 3)
que sans vous, las, suis devenue
car d’aultre rien plus ne me fault

quant de vous seulle je pers la venue.

Je crains tant que la revenue
me soit longue, cella me tue,
don j’enduray main grieff assault,
pourquoy demurer il me fault
de toute joye depourveue,

quant de vous seulle je pers la venue.

1) Line 1 has two syllables too many.
2) Line 2 misses one syllable.
3) Line 6 does not rime.

After Dijon ff. 36v-37:
Quant de vous seul je pers la veue
de qui tant chiere suis tenue,
mon mal lors si tresfort m’assault
qu’a peu que le cueur ne me fault,
tant suis de douleur esperdue.

Pour estre vostre devenue
plus que nul qui soit soubz la nue,
toute ma joie me default

quant de vous seul je pers la veue
de qui tant chiere suis tenue,
mon mal lors si tresfort m’assault
.

Dont je voi bien que je suis nue
de tous biens comme beste mue
a qui de plus riens il ne chault,
car je sçais bien qu’estre me fault
seulle de tous biens despourveue,

quant de vous seul je pers la veue
de qui tant chiere suis tenue,
mon mal lors si tresfort m’assault
qu’a peu que le cueur ne me fault,
tant suis de douleur esperdue.

When I miss the arrival of you alone
by whom I am held so dear,
only God knows the pain, which then assails me,
that nearly my heart breaks,
so overwhelmed I am by strong grief.

There is no one more miserable under the moon
than I, alas, have become without you
for there is nothing else for me,

when I miss the arrival of you alone.

I fear so much that I will have to wait
for your return a long time, it kills me,
at which I shall suffer many painful attacks,
therefore I have to remain
deprived of all joy,

when I miss the arrival of you alone.

 



When I lose sight of you alone
by whom I am held so dear,
then my pain assails me so very strongly
that nearly my heart breaks,
I am so overwhelmed by grief.

Having become yours
more than any one else under the heaven,
all my joy leaves me

when I lose sight of you alone
by whom I am held so dear,
then my pain assails me so very strongly.

Therefore I understand well that I am stripped
of all goods like a shedding animal,
which nothing anymore keeps warm,
for I know well that I must be
alone, deprived of all good things,

when I lose sight of you alone
by whom I am held so dear,
then my pain assails me so very strongly
that nearly my heart breaks,
I am so overwhelmed by grief.

Evaluation of the source:

This unique song was copied into the collection of music, MS Copenhagen, The Royal Library, Ny Kgl. Samling 1848 2°, by its main scribe as part of a systematically ordered series of three-part rondeaux, two quatrains followed by six cinquains. They were probably all copied straight from an older exemplar containing songs from the 1470s; the majority are unica, but one rondeau is preserved under Agricola’s name, and two are found anonymously in sources from the early 1490 (see further Christoffersen 1994, vol. I, pp. 74-75). The group of rondeaux represent a repertory slightly younger than the one in the Loire Valley chansonniers, but they were really old when they were selected for inclusion in the big collection of music at Lyons around 1520. The copy of “Quant de vous seulle” is quite hasty with many errors in the lower voices, and the scribe must have been disturbed during work, for he stopped just before the end of contratenor, missing eleven and a half breves, even if there is much space left on the page.

Comments on text and music:

The poem was most probable created by the composer in a not very successful attempt to turn the sad rondeau set by Ockeghem about an abandoned woman into a male complaint. He has changed “chiere” in the second line to “chier” and insists on “seulle” instead of “seul” in the opening line. The resulting 11 syllables in the first line (should be nine) fit the music perfectly, and the long, self-contained setting of the first line may have functioned as a short refrain after the first couplet and after the tierce (see the edition).

Stylistically this expansive setting belongs to the generation of Loyset Compere and Alexander Agricola – its creator was a much better composer than he was a poet. It excels in sequencing melodic figures while alternating free polyphony with imitation or canon; the lowest voice mostly keeps below the tenor, but may cross above it. The second section opens with a duet between tenor and contratenor, which is repeated by superius and tenor a fourth higher before reaching a joint conclusion “ne me fault” (bb. 32-45).

PWCH November 2019