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Old French Online

Lesson 6

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum

With the pilgrimages and the crusades, life in Western Europe opened up to new horizons and different lifestyles. As a result the social elite gradually became more secular and developed a keen interest in refined literature, with new ideals and a rich imagination. This development led -- towards the end of the 12th century -- to la littérature courtoise, a literature in which knights with high prestige, following l'idéal courtois, are in constant pursuit of glory and love for their lady. Love in these works is no longer an all-devouring passion, as in the Tristan novels, but rather a pure and noble feeling, which imposes certain rules comparable to those of a feudal society.

Love in these works is based on:

  1. Loyalty and faithfulness;
  2. Mutual admiration: of beauty and wisdom in the lady; of military qualities in the knight. Both need to be polite, elegant, and well-educated (reading, writing, music). They therefore typically represent the higher levels of society;
  3. Veneration of the lady. A source of inspiration, the lady represents a distant love which is almost inaccessible to the knight. The knight carries an object with him that reminds him of her (e.g. glove, curl of hair) and the lady is allowed to ask for rather extreme services, which will prove the knight's love and devotion;
  4. Compensation. When the knight has proven his qualities and his willingness to follow up on her capricious requests, the lady may accept his love, which in fact will take the form of a friendship rather than a passionate love affair.

These ideals are expressed in poetry as well as prose. One of the best known novelists of this period is Chrétien de Troyes, who between 1165 and 1190 wrote several novels that continue the setting of the Celtic novels but combine it with the new ideals: refined love stories involving magic and the world of King Arthur. King Arthur -- reminding the French of Charlemagne -- was popular in France because of his role as the leader of Celtic resistance under the Anglo-Saxons. The novels were based on and related the legends of King Arthur, Lancelot, and the Cycle of the Grail.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The text selected for this lesson has been taken from Chrétien de Troyes' novel Yvain ou le chevalier au lion (2560-2580; 2600-2615). Yvain is a knight who discovers a magical fountain in a forest and is attacked by the nobleman who guards it. Having killed his opponent, Yvain hides in the dead man's castle and falls in love with his widow, whom he subsequently marries. Then King Arthur passes by and Yvain decides to escort him on great adventures. He asks his lady to allow him to follow the king in his pursuit of glory. He is granted permission to go away for a year, but he has to be back exactly one year later. When Yvain returns too late, his lady refuses to receive him and Yvain has to carry out a series of new tasks to win back her love.

In the text selected here, Yvain asks his lady to allow him to follow King Arthur and his lady replies, specifying her conditions.

"Ma tres chiere dame,
vos qui estes mes cuers et m'ame,
mes biens, ma joie, et ma santez,
une chose m'acreantez
por vostre enor e por la moie."

  • ma -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular feminine <mon> my -- my
  • tres -- adverb; <tres> much, very -- very
  • chiere -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <cher> beloved, expensive -- dear
  • dame -- noun; nominative singular <dame> lady, dame -- lady
  • vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you
  • qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who
  • estes -- verb; second person plural present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- are
  • mes -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular masculine <mon> my -- my
  • cuers -- noun; nominative singular <cuer, coer, cor> heart -- heart
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • m'ame -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular feminine <mon> my + noun; nominative singular <anme, alme, arme, ame> soul, somebody -- my soul
  • mes -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular masculine <mon> my -- my
  • biens -- noun; nominative singular <bien, ben> good, good fortune, well-being -- good fortune
  • ma -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular feminine <mon> my -- my
  • joie -- noun; nominative singular <joi, joie> joy -- joy
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • ma -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular feminine <mon> my -- my
  • santez -- noun; nominative singular <santé> health, well-being -- well-being
  • une -- indefinite article; oblique singular feminine <un> a -- one
  • chose -- noun; oblique singular <chose, cose> thing, affair, creature -- thing
  • m'acreantez -- personal pronoun; first person singular indirect object <jo, jou, jeu> I + verb; second person plural imperative <acreanter> promise, allow, agree -- grant me
  • por -- preposition; <por> for -- for
  • vostre -- possessive; second person plural oblique singular feminine <vostre> your -- your
  • enor -- noun; oblique singular <onor, enor, anor> honor, respect, esteem, fief -- honor
  • e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • por -- preposition; <por> for -- for
  • la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- ...
  • moie -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular feminine <mon> my -- mine

La dame tantost li otroie,
qu'el ne set qu'il vialt demander
et dit: "Biax sire, comander
me poez ce qui boen vos iert."

  • la -- definite article; nominative singular feminine <li> the -- the
  • dame -- noun; nominative singular <dame> lady, dame -- lady
  • tantost -- adverb; <tantost> immediately -- immediately
  • li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he -- to him
  • otroie -- verb; third person singular present <otroier, otrier> grant, agree -- grants (it)
  • qu'el -- conjunction; <que> that + personal pronoun; third person singular nominative feminine <il> he -- although she
  • ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not
  • set -- verb; third person singular present <savoir> know -- does... know
  • qu'il -- conjunction; <que> that + personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- what he
  • vialt -- verb; third person singular present <voloir> want -- wants
  • demander -- verb; infinitive <demander> ask, ask for -- to ask
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • dit -- verb; third person singular present <dire> say, tell -- she says
  • biax -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <bel> dear, beloved, handsome -- beloved
  • sire -- noun; nominative singular <seignor> lord -- lord
  • comander -- verb; infinitive <comander> give, recommend, order -- ask
  • me -- personal pronoun; first person singular indirect object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me
  • poez -- verb; second person plural present <pooir, poeir, poier> can, be able -- you can
  • ce qui -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <ço, ceo, ce, ceu> this, that, it + relative pronoun; subject <qui> that -- what
  • boen -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <bon> good -- ...
  • vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- you
  • iert -- verb; third person singular future <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- like

Congié maintenant li requiert
mes sire Yvains, de convoier
le roi, et d'aler tornoier,
que l'an ne l'apialt recreant.

  • congié -- noun; oblique singular <congié> permission to leave, permission, leave -- permission to leave
  • maintenant -- adverb; <maintenant> immediately, soon -- immediately
  • li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object feminine <il> he -- her
  • requiert -- verb; third person singular present <requerre> ask, beseech -- asks for
  • mes -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular masculine <mon> my -- ...
  • sire -- noun; nominative singular <seignor> lord -- lord
  • Yvains -- proper name; nominative singular <Yvain> Yvain -- Yvain
  • de -- particle; <de> to -- to
  • convoier -- verb; infinitive <convoier> escort -- escort
  • le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the
  • roi -- noun; oblique singular <roi> king -- king
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • d'aler -- particle; <de> to + verb; infinitive <aler> go -- to go
  • tornoier -- verb; infinitive <tornoier> whirl around, tourney -- fight in tornaments
  • que -- conjunction; <que> that -- so that
  • l'an -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the + personal pronoun; third person singular nominative <om, on> one -- one
  • ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not
  • l'apialt -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he + verb; third person singular present <apeler> accuse, summon, call -- does... call him
  • recreant -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <recreant> exhausted, cowardly -- a coward

Et ele dit: "je vos creant
le congié jusqu'a un termine.

  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • ele -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative feminine <il> he -- she
  • dit -- verb; third person singular present <dire> say, tell -- says
  • je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I
  • vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- you
  • creant -- verb; first person singular present <creanter, granter> grant, agree -- grant
  • le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- ...
  • congié -- noun; oblique singular <congié> permission to leave, permission, leave -- permission to leave
  • jusqu'a -- preposition; <jusqu'a> as far as, up to -- for
  • un -- indefinite article; oblique singular masculine <un> a -- a
  • termine -- noun; oblique singular <termine> period of time -- period of time

Mes l'amors devanra haïne,
que j'ai en vos, toz an soiez
seürs, se vos trespassïez
le terme que je vos dirai;
sachiez que ja n'en mantirai:
se vos mantez, je dirai voir.

  • mes -- conjunction; <mais, mes> but -- but
  • l'amors -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the + noun; nominative singular <amor> love -- the love
  • devanra -- verb; third person singular future <devenir> become -- will become
  • haïne -- noun; nominative singular <haine> hatred -- hatred
  • que -- relative pronoun; object <qui> that -- that
  • j'ai -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I + verb; first person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- I have
  • en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- for
  • vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural direct object <vos> you -- you
  • toz -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <tot> all, every, completely -- ...
  • an -- pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- of that
  • soiez -- verb; second person plural imperative <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- be
  • seürs -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <seur> sure -- sure
  • se -- conjunction; <se> if -- if
  • vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you
  • trespassïez -- verb; second person plural imperfective <trespasser> pass, cross, go by -- exceed
  • le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the
  • terme -- noun; oblique singular <terme> term, period, period of time -- period of time
  • que -- relative pronoun; object <qui> that -- that
  • je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I
  • vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- to you
  • dirai -- verb; first person singular future <dire> say, tell -- will mention
  • sachiez -- verb; second person plural imperative <savoir> know -- know
  • que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that
  • ja n'en mantirai -- adverb; <ja> ever + negation; <ne, nen> not + pronoun; inanimate <en> of it + verb; first person singular future <mentir> lie, betray, deny, fail -- I will keep my word
  • se -- conjunction; <se> if -- if
  • vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you
  • mantez -- verb; second person plural present <mentir> lie, betray, deny, fail -- fail
  • je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I
  • dirai -- verb; first person singular future <dire> say, tell -- will tell
  • voir -- adverb; <voir> truly, indeed -- the truth

Se vos volez m'amor avoir
et de rien nule m'avez chiere,
pansez de tost venir arriere
a tot le moins jusqu'a un an
huit jorz aprés la Saint Johan
c'ui an cest jor sont les huitaves.

  • se -- conjunction; <se> if -- if
  • vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you
  • volez -- verb; second person plural present <voloir> want -- want
  • m'amor -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular feminine <mon> my + noun; oblique singular <amor> love -- my love
  • avoir -- verb; infinitive <avoir, aveir> have, be -- to have
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • de rien nule -- preposition; <de> of, from + noun; oblique singular <rien, ren> thing, creature, person + adjective; oblique singular feminine <nul> no, not any -- in any way
  • m'avez chiere -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I + verb; second person plural present <avoir, aveir> have, be + adjective; oblique singular feminine <cher> beloved, expensive -- you cherish me
  • pansez -- verb; second person plural imperative <penser> think, pay attention -- make sure
  • de -- particle; <de> to -- to
  • tost -- adverb; <tost> soon, immediately, quickly -- in time
  • venir -- verb; infinitive <venir> come, go -- come
  • arriere -- adverb <arriere, arrere, arire> back -- back
  • a tot le moins -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on + adverb; <tot> entirely + definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the + adverb; <meins, mains, moins> less, fewer -- at the very least
  • jusqu'a -- preposition; <jusqu'a> as far as, up to -- within
  • un -- indefinite article; oblique singular masculine <un> a -- one
  • an -- noun; oblique singular <an> year -- year
  • huit -- numeral; <huit> eight -- eight
  • jorz -- noun; oblique plural <jorn, jor> day -- days
  • aprés -- preposition; <apres> after, afterwards -- after
  • la Saint Johan -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the + adjective; oblique singular masculine <saint> holy + proper name; oblique singular <Johan> John -- the feast of St. John
  • c'ui an cest jor -- demonstrative; neuter <ço, ceo, ce, ceu> this, that, it + adverb; <ui, ue, oi> today + preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of + demonstrative; oblique singular masculine <cest, cist> this + noun; oblique singular <jorn, jor> day -- of which this very day
  • sont -- verb; third person plural present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- we celebrate
  • les -- definite article; nominative plural masculine <li> the -- the
  • huitaves -- noun; nominative plural <huitaves> octave -- octave # period of eight days following an important Christian holiday

De m'amor soiez maz et haves,
se vos n'iestes jusqu'a ce jor
ceanz avoec moi au retor."

  • de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- instead of
  • m'amor -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular feminine <mon> my + noun; oblique singular <amor> love -- my love
  • soiez -- verb; second person plural imperative <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- you will have
  • maz -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <mat> feeble, exhausted, sad -- sadness
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • haves -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <have> dark, sick, somber -- gloom
  • se -- conjunction; <se> if -- if
  • vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you
  • n'iestes -- negation; <ne, nen> not + verb; second person plural present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- are not
  • jusqu'a -- preposition; <jusqu'a> as far as, up to -- on
  • ce -- demonstrative; oblique singular masculine <cil> that -- that
  • jor -- noun; oblique singular <jorn, jor> day -- day
  • ceanz -- adverb; <ceanz, seans> in here -- here
  • avoec -- preposition; <avuec, avec, avoc> with -- with
  • moi -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me
  • au retor -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on + definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the + noun; oblique singular <retor, retorn> return -- back

... Mes or metroiz an vostre doi
cest mien anel, que je vos prest;

  • mes -- conjunction; <mais, mes> but -- but
  • or -- adverb; <or> now -- now
  • metroiz -- verb; second person plural conditional <metre, mectre, mettre> put -- you should put
  • an -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- on
  • vostre -- possessive; second person plural oblique singular masculine <vostre> your -- your
  • doi -- noun; oblique singular <doi, dei> finger -- finger
  • cest -- demonstrative; oblique singular masculine <cest, cist> this -- this
  • mien -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular masculine <mon> my -- of mine
  • anel -- noun; oblique singular <anel> ring -- ring
  • que -- relative pronoun; object <qui> that -- that
  • je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I
  • vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- to you
  • prest -- verb; first person singular present <prester> lend -- lend

et de la pierre quex ele est
vos voel dire tot en apert:
prison ne tient ne sanc ne pert
nus amanz verais et leax,
ne avenir ne li puet max;

  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- about
  • la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the
  • pierre -- noun; oblique singular <piere, pierre> stone, prison -- stone
  • quex -- relative pronoun; nominative singular feminine <quel> which -- that
  • ele -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative feminine <il> he -- it
  • est -- verb; third person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- carries
  • vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- you
  • voel -- verb; first person singular present <voloir> want -- I want
  • dire -- verb; infinitive <dire> say, tell -- to tell
  • tot -- adverb; <tot> entirely -- most
  • en apert -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of + adjective; oblique singular masculine <apert> open, visible, manifest -- openly
  • prison -- noun; oblique singular <prison> captivity, prison -- captivity
  • ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- ...
  • tient -- verb; third person singular present <tenir> hold, keep, seize, consider -- undergoes
  • ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- or
  • sanc -- noun; oblique singular <sanc> blood -- blood
  • ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- ...
  • pert -- verb; third person singular present <perdre> lose, perish -- loses
  • nus -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <nul> no, not any -- no
  • amanz -- noun; nominative singular <amant> lover -- lover
  • verais -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <verai> real, true -- true
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • leax -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <leal, loial> loyal, legitimate -- loyal
  • ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- and no
  • avenir -- verb; infinitive <avenir> arrive, happen -- happen
  • ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- ...
  • li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he -- to him
  • puet -- verb; third person singular present <pooir, poeir, poier> can, be able -- can
  • max -- noun; nominative singular <mal> evil, disaster, illness -- evil

mes qui le porte, et chier le tient
de s'amie li resovient,
et si devient plus durs que fers;
cil vos iert escuz et haubers
et voir einz mes a chevalier
ne le vos prester ne baillier,
mes por amors le vos doing gié."

  • mes -- conjunction; <mais, mes> but -- but
  • qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- he who
  • le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- it
  • porte -- verb; third person singular present <porter> carry, bring, wear -- wears
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • chier le tient -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <cher> beloved, expensive + personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he + verb; third person singular present <tenir> hold, keep, seize, consider -- cherishes it
  • de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- ...
  • s'amie -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his + noun; object singular <amie> friend -- his friend
  • li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he -- ...
  • resovient -- verb; third person singular present <resovenir> remember -- remembers
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- thus
  • devient -- verb; third person singular present <devenir> become -- he becomes
  • plus -- adverb; <plus> more -- ...
  • durs -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <dur> hard, unrefined, cruel -- stronger
  • que -- conjunction; <que> than -- than
  • fers -- noun; nominative singular <fer> iron, weapon -- iron
  • cil -- demonstrative; nominative singular masculine <cil> that -- this
  • vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- your
  • iert -- verb; third person singular future <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- will be
  • escuz -- noun; nominative singular <escu> shield -- shield
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • haubers -- noun; nominative singular <halberc, osberc> hauberk -- hauberk
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • voir -- adverb; <voir> truly, indeed -- truly
  • einz mes -- adverb; <ainc, ainz, ains> earlier, rather + conjunction; <mais> more, further, rather -- never before
  • a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- ...
  • chevalier -- noun; oblique singular <chevalier> knight -- to a knight
  • ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not
  • le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- it
  • vos -- verb; first person singular preterite <voloir> want -- I wanted
  • prester -- verb; infinitive <prester> lend -- lend
  • ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- or
  • baillier -- verb; infinitive <baillier> own, receive, give -- give
  • mes -- conjunction; <mais, mes> but -- but
  • por -- preposition; <por> for -- because of
  • amors -- noun; oblique plural <amor> love -- my feelings of love
  • le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- it
  • vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- to you
  • doing -- verb; first person singular present <doner> give -- give
  • gié -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

Or a mes sire Yvains congié:
molt out ploré au congié prendre.

  • or -- adverb; <or> now -- now
  • a -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- has
  • mes -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular masculine <mon> my -- ...
  • sire -- noun; nominative singular <seignor> lord -- lord
  • Yvains -- proper name; nominative singular <Yvain> Yvain -- Yvain
  • congié -- noun; oblique singular <congié> permission to leave, permission, leave -- permission to leave
  • molt -- adverb, adjective; <molt, mult, mout> many, much, very -- many
  • out -- verb; third person singular preterite <avoir, aveir> have, be -- he...
  • ploré -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <plorer> cry, shed tears -- shed tears
  • au -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on + definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- when
  • congié -- noun; oblique singular <congié> permission to leave, permission, leave -- his leave
  • prendre -- verb; infinitive <prendre> take, take hold of, seize -- taking

Lesson Text

"Ma tres chiere dame,
vos qui estes mes cuers et m'ame,
mes biens, ma joie, et ma santez,
une chose m'acreantez
por vostre enor e por la moie."

La dame tantost li otroie,
qu'el ne set qu'il vialt demander
et dit: "Biax sire, comander
me poez ce qui boen vos iert."

Congié maintenant li requiert
mes sire Yvains, de convoier
le roi, et d'aler tornoier,
que l'an ne l'apialt recreant.

Et ele dit: "je vos creant
le congié jusqu'a un termine.

Mes l'amors devanra haïne,
que j'ai en vos, toz an soiez
seürs, se vos trespassïez
le terme que je vos dirai;
sachiez que ja n'en mantirai:
se vos mantez, je dirai voir.

Se vos volez m'amor avoir
et de rien nule m'avez chiere,
pansez de tost venir arriere
a tot le moins jusqu'a un an
huit jorz aprés la Saint Johan
c'ui an cest jor sont les huitaves.

De m'amor soiez maz et haves,
se vos n'iestes jusqu'a ce jor
ceanz avoec moi au retor."

... Mes or metroiz an vostre doi
cest mien anel, que je vos prest;

et de la pierre quex ele est
vos voel dire tot en apert:
prison ne tient ne sanc ne pert
nus amanz verais et leax,
ne avenir ne li puet max;

mes qui le porte, et chier le tient
de s'amie li resovient,
et si devient plus durs que fers;
cil vos iert escuz et haubers
et voir einz mes a chevalier
ne le vos prester ne baillier,
mes por amors le vos doing gié."

Or a mes sire Yvains congié:
molt out ploré au congié prendre.

Translation

My very dear lady
You who are my heart and my soul
My good fortune, my joy and my well-being
Grant me one thing
For your honor and for mine.
The lady immediately grants it to him
Although she does not know what he wants to ask
And she says: "Beloved lord, you can
Ask me what you like."
Lord Yvain asks her immediately for permission
to leave to escort the king
And to go fight in tornaments
So that one does not call him a coward.
And she says: "I grant you
Permission to leave for a period of time.
But the love I have for you
will become hatred, be sure of that,
If you exceed the period of time
That I will mention to you;
Know that I will keep my word:
If you fail, I will tell the truth.
If you want to have my love
And you cherish me in any way,
Make sure to come back in time
At the very least within one year
Eight days after the feast of St. John
Of which we celebrate the octave this very day."
Instead of my love you will have sadness and gloom,
If you are not on that day
Back here with me."
But now you should put on your finger
This ring of mine, that I lend to you;
And about the stone that it carries
I want to tell you most openly:
No true and loyal lover
Undergoes captivity, or loses blood,
And no evil can happen to him;
But he who wears it, and cherishes it
Remembers his friend,
And thus he becomes stronger than iron;
This will be your shield and hauberk
And truly never before I wanted
To lend it or give it to a knight,
But because of my feelings of love I give it to you.
Now Lord Yvain has permission to leave:
He shed many tears when taking his leave.

Grammar

26. Adverbs of Manner

Most adverbs in Latin were either fossilized case forms or morphologically marked. Magis 'more', plus 'more' and nimis 'too much', for example, were fossilized accusative neuters. Among adverbs of manner the most productive formation was based on a process of derivation whereby a suffix -e or -(i)ter was added to an adjectival base: -e was used for adjectives of Declension I/II and -(i)ter for adjectives of Declension III, cf.:

Latin Adverb Formation, Adverbs of manner

    Adjective   Adverb
    stult-us 'stupid'   stult-e 'stupidly'
    grand-is 'great'   grand-iter 'greatly'

In the later periods of Latin and in its popular varieties the -(i)ter derivation spread at the expense of -e, cf.:

    avidus 'eager'   (avide)   >   aviditer
    benignus 'benign'   (benigne)   >   benigniter

Moreover two new strategies developed, prepositional phrases and adjective + noun combinations:

· prepositional phrases

    in commune   'generally'
    in totum   'entirely'

· adjective + noun combinations

    libero ore   'with a frank mouth, frankly'
    citato pede   'with a speedy foot, quickly'
    ardenti corde   'with a burning heart, ardently, intensely'
    studioso animo   'with an eager mind, impatiently'
    tristi mente   'with a sad mind, sadly'

Among these varieties the mente combinations survived in the Romance languages, with the exception of Rumanian.

In Old French we find several devices to form adverbs of manner:

26.1. Several adjectives are used as adverbs without any specific morphological marker:

    bel   'beautiful, beautifully'
    chier   'dear, expensive, dearly'
    cler   'clear, clearly'
    droit   'right, rightly'
    haut   'high, loudly'
    petit   'small, slightly'
    tot   'all, completely'
    voir   'real, sincere, really'
         
    escriet e haltement e cler (CdR 1974)
    'he shouted loudly and clearly'

When adjectives are used as adverbs, they can still show agreement with the noun: this pattern is typical of tot, cf.:

    tote sui sole en ceste terre (Bér., Trist. 153, Lesson 5)
    I am completely alone in this country'
     
    A l'apostolie revint tuz esmeriz (Al. 352)
    'he turned toward the pope completely shaken'

26.2. A suffix -tre(s), which traces back to the -(i)ter suffix of Vulgar and Late Latin is added to a base. In Old French the suffix combines with adjectives as well as nouns, cf.:

    nuitantre 'during the night, at night' < nuit 'night'

26.3. A device that survived as an almost "pan-Romance" phenomenon is the adverbial formation in -ment mentioned earlier. It traces back to the formations mentioned above:

    Adjective + mente   'with a ... mind, in ... spirit'

Since mente originally was a feminine noun, the adjective in the French formation takes the feminine form as well:

    Adjective   >   Adverb
    veir 'real'       veirement 'really'(CdR 2361)
    dur 'hard'       durement 'bitterly' (CdR 1814)
    gent 'noble'       gentement 'bravely'(CdR 2099)
    lung 'long'       lungement 'for a long time' (CdR 1858)
    isnel 'quick'       isnelement 'quickly' (CdR 2085)
             
    ki durement ne plurt (CdR 1814)    
    'who does not cry bitterly'
         
    si lungement ... m'avez servit (CdR 1858)    
    'you have served me such a long time'
         
    vengent el camp cumunement   (CdR 1838)
    'they arrive at the battlefield together'

Some adjectives have both the -ment formation and may be used as an adverb without morphological change:

    Adjective   Adverb   Adverb in -ment
    halt   halt   haltement 'loudly'
    veir   veir   veirement

In Old French the formation may also include nouns and adverbs as its base:

    altresi   adv. 'same'   > altresiment 'same'
    vassal   n. 'vassal'   > vassalment 'bravely'
             
    Franceis sunt bon, si ferunt vassalment (CdR 1080)
    'the French are brave, they will fight bravely'

The derivation on the basis of Class I/II adjectives is not problematic because the formation of the feminine is provided in the paradigm (e.g. dur masc. > dure fem. > durement adv.). Class III adjectives do not include a feminine form in -e but instead all adjectives end in a consonant (cf. Grammar Point 4): e.g. fort 'strong'. Derivation with these adjectives as base therefore results in a number of phonetic assimilations, cf.:

· consonant assimilation

    fort + -ment   >   forment
    grief + -ment   >   griément

· -l- vocalization

    cruel + -ment   >   cruaument

· loss of -l-

    gentil + ment   >   gentiment

26.4. A suffix -s may be added to adverbs, prepositions, and nouns to form a new adverb:

    merveille   >   merveilles
    'remarkable thing'       'marvelously, extremely'

This process is possibly based on analogy with the high number of Latin adverbs in -s that survived in Old French and were very widespread: e.g. mais 'more' < La. magis, plus 'more' < La. plus, fors 'except' < La. foris. The process accounts for the etymology of several formations as well:

    unques / unces   <   La. umque + -s 'ever'
    sempres   <   La. semper + -s 'always'
    sens, sans   <   La. sine + -s 'without'

26.5. Adverbial formations based on prepositional phrases survive in Old French, cf.:

    par grant irur (CdR 1842)   'with great anger'
    par / a compas   'regularly'
    par maistrie   'excellently'

The formation is especially productive when including the preposition a + a plural noun in -on, cf.:

    a tastons 'gropingly'
    a genouillons 'on one's knees'
27. Personal Pronouns: Forms

Since pronouns are elements that are used instead of a noun they agree in number, case, and gender with the noun they replace. The paradigms of personal pronouns in Old French distinguish person (1-3), number (singular/plural), gender (for the third person), and case (nominative, direct object, indirect object). Moreover there is an important distinction between so-called stressed and unstressed non-nominative forms. The paradigms are as follows:

Personal Pronouns

    1st Sg.   2nd Sg.   3rd Sg.   3rd Sg.
            Masc.   Fem.
Nom.   jo, jou   tu   il   el(e)
    je(u)            
Dir. Obj.   me   te   le   la
Dir. Obj. (str.)   moi   toi   lui   li / lié
Indir. Obj.   me   te   li   li
Indir. Obj. (str.)   moi   toi   lui   li / lié
                 
    1st Pl.   2nd Pl.   3rd Pl.   3rd Pl.
            Masc.   Fem.
Nom.   nos   vos   il   eles
Dir. Obj.   nos   vos   les   les
Dir. Obj. (str.)   nos   vos   eus   eles
Indir. Obj.   nos   vos   lor   lor
            leur   leur
Indir. Obj. (str.)   -   -   -   -

Elision and enclisis

Like the definite article (see Grammar Point 14), personal pronouns may undergo processes of elision and enclisis:

Elision:

· unstressed elements easily undergo elision, especially le and la:

    l'oïrent (CdR 1756) 'they heard it'
    pur ço l'ad fait (CdR 2361)
    'for this reason he has done this'

· je, which is inherently stressed, does not undergo elision;

· strong forms, such as moi and toi, followed by en or i may undergo elision.

Enclisis:

The unstressed forms of the paradigm may be attached to other elements in the clause, especially je, ne, se, si, que, en:

Personal Pronouns, Patterns of enclisis

    je + le   >   jel, gel
    je + les   >   ges
    ne + le   >   nel, nu, nul
    ne + les   >   nes
    que + le   >   qel
    qui + le   >   quil
    qui + les   >   quis
    se + le   >   sel
    se + les   >   ses
    si + le   >   sil, sel
             
    s'est kil demandet (CdR 119, Lesson 1)
    'if there is someone who asks for him'
     
    e li message descendirent a pied
    sil saluerent ... (CdR 121, Lesson 1)
    'and the messagers came down'
    'and they greeted him ...'
28. Personal Pronouns: Uses

28.1. In Old French tu was a second person singular pronoun, whereas vos was a true plural, used only to address more than one person. Soon a polite use of vos developed as well when it came to be used--inconsistenly at first--to address a person of higher social rank. Among nobles, for example, vos became part of basic politeness. Yet, God typically continued to be referred to in direct address as tu.

28.2. Subject pronouns are late in Indo-European. The finite verb expressed person and number, and early uses of subject pronouns were marked, having emphatic function. In Old French as well, subject pronouns are not obligatory. Accordingly the finite verb in Old French as a rule may occur without explicit subject, be it nominal or pronominal:

    Rollant ad mis l'olifan a sa buche
    Empeint le ben, par grant vertut le sunet
    (CdR 1753-1754, Lesson 2)
    'Roland has put the horn at his mouth'
    '(he) places it solidly and (he) blows with great force'
     
    L'olifan sunet a dulor e a peine (CdR 1787, Lesson 2)
    '(He) blows the horn in suffering'

The explicit subject can be absent even when there is a change of subject, cf.:

    que de vos mete a raison
    et de s'ire face pardon (Bér., Trist. 165-166, Lesson 5)
    'that I talk to him about you'
    'and that he forgets his distress!'

The absence of subject pronouns traditionally has been accounted for by the rather explicit verb ending. The texts analyzed so far show that in some the use of pronominal subjects is more frequent than elsewhere. The Chanson de Rolland has relatively few subject pronouns, and when they occur their use is emphatic. The text of Lesson 5, a passionate dialogue in which persons take position, has relatively many instances. The use of subject pronouns in Old French therefore often marks a certain emphasis, cf. the following example, where the use of the subject pronouns is contrastive:

    pur mei n'iras tu mie! (CdR 296)
    'you will not go in my place !'
     
    Qui i purruns enveier ... ?
    Jo i puis aler mult ben! (CdR 252; 254)
    'whom could we send there?'
    'I could go there easily !'

The following example illustrates emphatic use of the subject pronoun in combination with left dislocation:

    li quens Rollant, il est mult irascut (CdR 777)
    'count Roland, he is very angry'

As a result the subject pronoun is inherently stressed and therefore can occur at various locations in the clause, not only in proximity to the verb: cf.:

    il et ses freres ...   'he and his brothers ...'
    je et mi chevalier ...   'I and my knights ...'

Instead of subject pronouns Old French may use nouns such as cors 'body', cf.:

    mis cors trenble (Trist. 173, Lesson 5)
    'my body is trembling' > 'I am trembling'

Cors can also be used as a reinforcing element especially when it combines with a personal pronoun, cf.:

        Jo cunduirai mun cors en Rencesvals (CdR 892)
        'I myself will go to Roncedvaux'
    vs.    
        En Rencesvals irai mun cors juer ! (CdR 901)
        'I will go to Roncevaux'

With time the use of subject pronouns increased. One of the important differences between Old and Middle French is the dramatic increase in use of subject pronouns. It is important to point out that subject pronouns in Old French are said to be "deleted" when in postposition to the verb: there are many more instances of preverbal than postverbal pronominal subjects. It may be, however, that the spread of subject pronouns as pointed out manifested itself preverbally first, and postverbally only later.

The use of subject pronouns with impersonal verbs is late. If subject pronouns are commonly used with finite verbs in Middle French, there is no regular use of pronominal subjects with impersonal verbs before 16th century French. E.g:

    anuite 'it gets dark'
    bataille i ad (CdR 1971, Lesson 2) 'there is a battle'
    m'est avis 'it seems to me'
    tei cuvenist helme ... a porter (Al. 411) 'you need to wear a helmet'

Early instances of impersonal "subject" pronouns are attested, cf.:

    Il nus i cuvent guarde (CdR 192)
    'we need to be careful'

28.3. Unstressed pronominal forms are verb bound: they are in proximity to the verb, either preceding or following it. Stressed forms are characterized by a much less strict use. They typically occur at the beginning of the clause, function as objects of prepositions, combine with infinitives, and are used with emphasis:

With an infinitive:

    as tables juent pur els esbaneier (CdR 111, Lesson 1)
    'they play games to amuse themselves'

With a preposition:

    desuz lui met s'espee (CdR 2359, Lesson 2)
    'under him he places his sword'
     
    a lui nos laist venir (Eul. 28, Lesson 4)
    'may he allow to come to him'

28.4. Third person direct object pronouns may be omitted in Old French when co-occurring with an indirect object in the same clause, cf.:

    il la volt prendra: cil ne li volt querpir (Al. 351)
    'he wants to take it: Alexis does not want to give (it) to him'

It can also be omitted when the direct object is governed by different verbs; in these instances it will be omitted with the second verb.

29. Possessives: Forms

There are two series of possessives in Old French: stressed, and unstressed. The unstressed possessives are used only as adjectival elements; the stressed forms may be used both as pronominal and adjectival elements. As adjectival elements, possessives agree with the head noun in case, number, and gender. As pronominal elements they agree with the noun they replace.

Possessives, Masculine unstressed forms

    1st Sg.   2nd Sg.   3rd Sg.
Nom. Sg.   mes   tes   ses
Obl. Sg.   mon   ton   son
             
Nom. Pl.   mi   ti   si
Obl. Pl.   mes   tes   ses
             
    1st Pl.   2nd Pl.   3rd Pl.
Nom. Sg.   nostre   vostre   lor (leur)
Obl. Sg.   nostre   vostre   lor (leur)
             
Nom. Pl.   nostre   vostre   lor (leur)
Obl. Pl.   noz   voz   lor (leur)

Possessives, Feminine unstressed forms

    1st Sg.   2nd Sg.   3rd Sg.
Nom. Sg.   ma   ta   sa
Obl. Sg.   ma   ta   sa
             
Nom. Pl.   mes   tes   ses
Obl. Pl.   mes   tes   ses
             
    1st Pl.   2nd Pl.   3rd Pl.
Nom. Sg.   nostre   vostre   lor (leur)
Obl. Sg.   nostre   vostre   lor (leur)
             
Nom. Pl.   noz   voz   lor (leur)
Obl. Pl.   noz   voz   lor (leur)

The feminine forms ma, ta, and sa regularly undergo elision when preceding a vowel-initial noun, cf.:

    s'ire (Bér., Trist. 145, Lesson 5) 'his distress'
    s'amie (Yv. 2610, this lesson) 'his friend'

The stressed possessives trace back to La. meum, tuum, and suum. While meum gave mien, the Old French tuen and suen from the 13th century became tien and sien, in analogy with mien.

Possessives, Masculine stressed forms

    1st Sg.   2nd Sg.   3rd Sg.
Nom. Sg.   miens   tuens   suens
Obl. Sg.   mien   tuen   suen
             
Nom. Pl.   mien   tuen   suen
Obl. Pl.   miens   tuens   suens
             
    1st Pl.   2nd Pl.   3rd Pl.
Nom. Sg.   nostres   vostres   lor
Obl. Sg.   nostre   vostre   lor
             
Nom. Pl.   nostre   vostre   lor
Obl. Pl.   nostres   vostres   lor

Possessives, Feminine stressed forms

    1st Sg.   2nd Sg.   3rd Sg.
Nom. Sg.   meie   to(u)e   so(u)e
    moie   teue   seue
Obl. Sg.   meie   to(u)e   so(u)e
    moie   teue   seue
             
Nom. Pl.   meies   to(u)es   so(u)es
Obl. Pl.   meies   to(u)es   so(u)es
             
    1st Pl.   2nd Pl.   3rd Pl.
Nom. Sg.   nostre   vostre   lor
Obl. Sg.   nostre   vostre   lor
             
Nom. Pl.   nostres   vostres   lor
Obl. Pl.   nostres   vostres   lor

With the replacement of tu- and su- by ti- and si- respectively, in analogy with mien (13th century), the declensional pattern of mien spread as well:

Declension of mien, tien, and sien, Masculine

    1st Sg.   2nd Sg.   3rd Sg.
Nom. Sg.   miens   tiens   siens
Obl. Sg.   mien   tien   sien
             
Nom. Pl.   mien   tien   sien
Obl. Pl.   miens   tiens   siens

Declension of mien, tien, and sien, Feminine

    1st Sg.   2nd Sg.   3rd Sg.
Nom. Sg.   mienne   tienne   sienne
Obl. Sg.   mienne   tienne   sienne
             
Nom. Pl.   miennes   tiennes   siennes
Obl. Pl.   miennes   tiennes   siennes
30. Possessives: Uses

Unstressed possessives are used only as adjectival elements. The stressed form, when used as an adjective, as a rule combines with a definite article, a demonstrative, or an indefinite article as well, cf.:

    la meie mort (CdR 2198)   'my death'
    la sue mort (CdR 2232)   'his death'
    par le men esciëntre (CdR 1791)   'to my knowledge'
    i metrai un mien filz (CdR 149)   'I will put a son of mine there'
    cest mien anel (Yv. 2603, this lesson)   'this ring of mine'

The stressed possessive, when used as a pronoun, generally combines with a definite article, cf.:

    Sainz Alexis la sue ... alascet (Al. 372)
    'St. Alexis let his (hand) go'
     
    ne n'ai tel gent ki la sue derumpet (CdR 19)
    'I do not have the troops capable of destroying his (army)'

Many instances in Old French include a preposition + personal pronoun instead of a possessive, cf.:

    l'ame de mei 'my soul'
    l'ame de lui 'his soul'