Commentary on Lenglet's Text and Notes


L = Lais (Petit Testament)
T = Testament
PV = Poèmes Variés
BJ = Ballades en Jargon
Lenglet = Nicolas Lenglet Dufresnoy
NLDn = Lenglet's notes in MS Paris Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal 2948
NLDnc = Lenglet's notes in MS Paris Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal 2948 (codicological notes)
NLDt = Lenglet's text in British Library B.L. 241.f.17

Title (NLDt & NLDn) The remark "Ainsi intitulé sans le consentement de l'Auteur, comme il le dit au second" (which originated with Marot) and Lenglet's note both refer to T756-57, which would have been presented like this in his edition:

      Qu'aucuns, sans mon consentement,
      Volurent nommer testament;

Actually, there are several interior labels which Villon used to refer to his text. I cite them from modern editions akin to that of Rychner-Henry: "ce présent laiz" (L64), "ce traictié" (L196), "cest intendit" (L214), "ces laiz" (L275), and "mon propos" (L307).

Lenglet did not have access to the text of L64, and he did not seem to be concerned about Villon's designation of L as "certains laiz" (T755). Apart from Marot's observation, there is no further evidence of concern about the title "Petit Testament" in any printed work until Antoine Campaux used "les lais" in apposition with "petit testament" in 1859. Manuscript evidence tells a slightly different story. The apparently clever scribe of the fifteenth-century manuscript A (MS Paris Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal 3523), gave the title "Le Lais Francois Villon", and Claude Fauchet wrote a marginal note next to T756 in fifteenth-century manuscript F (MS Stockholm Kungliga Biblioteket Vu 22), which reads "le prmier n'est pas testament".

L1 (NLDt) Villon does not begin T with a date, and in it he states the date informally as "Escript l'ay l'an soixante et ung," (T81). In addition, L makes a formal reconfirmation of the date: "Faict au temps de la dicte date" (L313, 233 in NLDt). T should be the more legal document since the first is not a testament. One migh ask if there is a particular importance in the date. I would point out that Joan of Arc, whom Villon mentions in T350-51, who was burned as a witch in 1431, the probable date of Villon's birth, was reinstated as a Christian, though the annulation of the descision in her earlier trail. Here is an exhaustive list of other known historical events:

  • The Gutenburg Bible was published at Mainz
  • Portuguese explorers reached the Cape Verde Islands
  • Pope Calixtus established the midday Angelus
  • Prince Vlad the Impaler of Wallachia came to power
  • The Ottoman Turks annexed Serbia and captured Athens
  • The comet that was to be named "Halley's Comet" appeared
  • Naples was ruined by a major earthquake (35,000 dead)
  • Birth of French composer Alexandre Agricola
  • Uccello began to paint The Battle of San Romano
  • Donatello completed his "Lamentation over the Dead Christ"
  • Hans Baron's first essay on Machiavelli
  • Sir Gilbert Hay's translations (Le Livre de l'Ordre de la Chevalerie)
  • Performance of the Mystère de la Résurrection: Angers
  • Reconstruction of the facade of the Church of Saint-Martin-des-Champs (Paris)
  • St. Rose of Viterbo was canonized
  • Saint Jehan de Capistrano died
  • Jacques Coeur died at Chio
  • Pope Calixtus III granted the Knights Templar ecclesiastical jurisdiction for the Portuguese colonies in Africa and Asia.
  • Relations between Jews and Christians were officially banned by the Catholic Church
  • Death of Charles 1er de Bourbon (December 4)
  • Interdiction of the Feast of Fools activities in churches by the Council of Soissons
  • Villon leaves Paris
  • College of Navarre (Paris) is robbed [Villon later implicated]

2000 Jahre Chronik Deutsche Geschichte - 1456

Clément Marot was the first editor to incorporate critical and methological commentaty into an edition of Villon. See entries E 1533b-E 1542c in Robert D. Peckham. François Villon: A Bibliography (New York: Garland, 1990), pp. 50-53, for details, also the "Index of Subjects and Special Topics" under "Clément Marot". He was also a well-known poet of the French Renaissance, and I have provided biographical and poetry resouces

Clément Marot (Club des Poètes)

Clément MAROT (1497-1544)

L4 (NLDt & NLDn) On the proverb "franc au collier", here is the entry under "franc" from Jean Nicot, Thresor de la langue françoyse, tant ancienne que moderne (Paris: Douceur, 1606), p. 299.

"Franc, m. Celuy qui ne doibt point de tribut, Immunis, Liber. Ce mot Franc importe toute exemption et acquict de toute charge, debte, servitude. Selon laquelle signification on dit en matiere de baulx, eschanges, et venditions d'heritages, franc et quitte de tous arrerages, Reliquis aut reliquorum nexu, praedia libera. Et un fief estre vendu francs deniers au vendeur, quand il doibt estre acquitté par l'acheteur du quint denier qui en appartient au Seigneur feodal, Illibato ac immuni pretio fundi beneficiarij venditori obueniente. Et franc Aleu, qui est de telle nature qui ne doibt vest ne devest, service, censive, relief, foy, hommage ne autre redebvance que ce soit. Il emporte aussi immunité de nature sauvage et bastarde. Selon laquelle energie on dit les fruits et arbres francs. Il importe aussi exemption de vice, Selon laquelle energie on dit un cheval franc, qui n'est point vicieux, et franc au collier, le cheval qui tire sans ruer, se desbatre, ne restiver. Villon, Le frain aux dents, franc au collier. Il se prend aussi pour vaillant et courtois, Comme franc chevalier je me rends à toy, és anciens Romans, et pour preud'homme loyal et debonnaire: selon laquelle signification on trouve aussi és anciens Romans, Franc Roy, Franc Duc, Franc gentil-homme, vengez moy d'une injure que j'ay receuë, et je suis plus franc que vous. Toutes lesquelles significations sont procedées des bonnes et loüables qualitez en moeurs et vaillances qui estoient aux primaeves François, comme aussi en ces manieres de parler, Franche volonté, franchement, c'est à dire, Libre volonté et sans contrainte, et librement, comme aussi ce mot."

L6 (NLDn) Vegèce or Valère? Both Flavius Vegetius Renatus and Valerius Maximus were pupular in the middle ages. Here are some Vegèce or Valère resources:

The Latin text of Vegetius' Epitoma Rei Militaris

Danger de la beauté - Valère Maxime

Grandes Chroniques de France de Charles V (BNF, Fr 2813)- Valère Maxime

Valeri Maximi Factorum et Dictorum Memorabilium Libri Novem

L10 The imprecision of the date "sur le Noel" suggests the broader Christmastide, perhaps extending to Epiphany. Another appropriate seasonal festivity would be the Feast of Fools, somewhere between Christmas and Epiphany. Even if Villon is referring to December 25, the conversion from this date in the Julian calendar to the Gregorian puts it on January 3 of the next year (1457). Interdiction of the feast of fools activities in churches by the Council of Soissons in 1456 makes its mention here all the more interesting.

The following web resources treat relevant topics:

Noël au Moyen-Age

Noël - Du XVe au XVIIIe siècles

Fêtes païennes du Moyen Age

Feast of Fools

La Fête des fous dans le nord de la France (XIVe-XVIe siècles)

Saint Nicolas, patron des écoliers...

Evidence that Villon wanted readers to accept the idea of a winter composition of the poem is overwhealming: the Christmas-tide setting with the image of people staying by the fire and that of starving wolves (L9-16), the image of Jaques Raguier at the Abeuvroir Popin with fire warming feet and plenty to eat (L153-58), a gift of seasonally inappropriate clothing to Villon's lawyer (L165-68),The topically and seasonally aimed bequest of a "grant tabart" to Loup and Cholet (L189-92) a facetious gift to spare three "Povres orphelins impourveuz" (really three wealthy old men) the miseries of a harsh winter (L196-200), Villon's description of winter misery of the homeless "gisans soubz les estaulx" (L235-40), a possible reference to the feast of fools (L269-72), and finally his own condition, waking up in the cold morning air, with candle out and ink frozen (L305-12). All is verifiable in Toshimitsu SASAKI's edition of Villon's Lais

. Since Guy Tabary stated in a deposition dated July 22, 1458, that Villon was one of four co-conspirators in the theft of 500 or 600 écus from the College de Navarre in 1456 "circa festum nativitatis Domini" (MS Paris, A.N. fonds su College de Navarre, Carton M 181), there has been much speculation about the composition of L as an alabi, and much digging in L for veiled references to the theft. This is certainly another way in which the work seasonally tagged for winter.

L15 "l'amoureuse prison". In the courtly etstheic, the "prison d'amour" was a "locus amoenus", a "prison "dorée", yet Villon flees it. Does the expression reflect Froissart's work, "La Prison Amoureuse" (1372-1373), or merely the general courtly rhetoric associated with the "belle dame sans mercy" motif? Certainly the octaves which would be added later to the "texte intégral" from the tradition of mss ABF are an extended discussion of this motif.

La Belle Dame sans mercy

Translation (La Belle Dame sans mercy)

L25 (NLDn) No edition of Villon's works by a printer or diditor names "Nevard" have been listed as a source of text or for consultation.

L42 (NLDt and NLDn) Here is a resource explaining the history of the Carmelites in France:

Origines des Carmes en France

As far as Lenglet's proverb-like "carmes en cuisine" is concerned, we find among the "Historiettes de Gédéon Tallemant des Réaux", the following witness:

"Le père André"

where a particuler anecdote might well illustrate the sense of the saying: "Il prêchait en un couvent de Carmes sur l'église desquels le tonnerre était tombé sans en blesser un seul. 'Ah ! dit-il, regardez quelle bénédiction de Dieu ; si le tonnerre fût tombé sur la cuisine, il n'en fût réchappé pas un.' On dit Carme en cuisine."

historia universitatis Parisiensis refers undoubtedly to

Bulaeus, Caesar Egassius. Historia Universitatis Parisiensis a Carlo M.(agno) ad nostra tempora. 6 Bde.. Paris: Apud Petrum de Bresche, 1665-1673.

L46 (NLDt and NLDn) Omnis utriusque sexus. Sea canon 21 in

Twelfth Ecumenical Council: Lateran IV 1215

Of course, you do not have to be very creative or bright to understand the humorous potential of this abiguous introit.

L85 (NLDn) This remark may be another indication of the authorship of this edition. Lenglet had also planned an edition of Pathelin.

La Farce de Maistre Pathelin (sommaire)

L86 (NLDn) "de haulte gresse" means "bien en point; très consistant", according to Algirdas Julien Greimas and Teresa Mary Keane, Dictionnaire du moyen français - La Renaissance ([Paris]: Larousse, [1992]). Rabelais uses the expression in

[Rabelais] Gargantua. Page_ 6 Prologue

He uses "de haulte gresse" and "de basse gresse" in

"Chapitre VI" of Le Quart Livre

L96 (NLDn) This verb is absent from the Dictionnaire de L'Académie Française (1694), but can be found on p. 612 of Nicot, defined as follows: "Surquerir un homme, ou trop interroguer".

L97 (NLDt) Villon refers to the

L100 (NLDn) Here are some web resources on Bicestre, mentioned both here and in T1347:

L'Histoire de l'hopital de Bicetre

Le vieux château de Bicêtre, gravure de Mariette, v. 1750

The edition of Chartier to which Lenglet refers may well have been

André Du Chesne Tovrangeav, éd. Les Oevvres de Maistre Alain Chartier ... contenans l'Histoire de son temps, l'Espérance, le Curial, le Quadrilogue, & autres pièces; toutes novvellement reveues, corrig[ées], & de beaucoup augm[entées] sur les exemplaires escrits à la main (A Paris, S. Thibovst, 1617).

L101 (NLDn), the spelling spelling contemporary with Lenglet is "malotru"

Nicot defines "malotru" as "Povre malotru, Fortunae iniuria miserabilis" (p. 391).

The Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française (1694) defines the same word as "[malotru]e (MAL male) Malotru, [malotru]e. adj. Terme d'injure & de mespris, par lequel on pretend signifier en mesme temps une personne miserable, maussade, malfaite, mal bastie. C'est un homme des plus malotrus que je connoisse. Il est plus souvent substantif. C'est un malotru, c'est un pauvre malotru"

L102 (NLDn) Moutonnier

A Royal pardon [MS Paris, Archives Nationales, JJ 183, pièce 67. fol. 49r and 49v] issued in St-Pourçain, January of 1455 (old style), unknown to Lenglet, shows that Villon used the alias Michel Mouton, when, after killing Philippe de Sermoise, he was wounded so severely, he had to visit a local surgeon (barber). Several scholars have contemplated a connection between this alias and L's "Moutonnier".

L104 (NLDn) Ceps

Here is how Nicot defines "cep" (p. 106):

"Cep, m. Est un instrument fait de deux pieces de bois entaillées sur le bord, en mesme endroit lesquelles joinctes detiennent les pieds, ou les mains, ou les quatre ensemble du malfaicteur qui y est mis. C'estoit au premier une maniere de prison et detention des criminels, tant que leur proces leur fust parfait jusques à jugement diffinitif inclusivement. Et celuy qui en avoit la garde et le regard, estoit appelé Cepier, que nous appellons geolier, Numellae, Depuis on en a usé pour une punition infamatoire si qu'il y a eu des Ceps, les entailleures desquels detenoient le col du condamné à subir l'ignominie du Ceps, presques ainsi que fait aujourd'huy le carcan, selon ce on disoit estre condamné ou mis aux Ceps, c'est à dire à l'ignominie des Ceps, Nexum inire Bud. ex Liuio, Ce qui est dit en pluriel, parce que le Cep est fait de deux pieces de bois ainsi mortaisées que dit est, lesquelles joinctes sont retenues par un lien de fer ou autre chose, tant qu'on les vueille deserrer et ouvrir, l'Italien les nomme aussi en pluriel Ceppi, que Philippe Venuti interprete, Ceppi da piedi quali si pongono a prigionieri, et le rend par Pedicae, Compedes, et Cippus, et entend les Ceps estre une detention plus rigoureuse des criminels, tout ainsi que les manottes de fer, et les fers qu'en leur met aux mains et aux pieds, l'un et l'autre viennent de Cippus, dont les anciens Gaulois appeloient."

L108 Nicot defines "lopin" on p. 380:

"Lopin, c'est une piece ou portion tirée ou coupée de la piece entiere. Semble qu'il vient de Lobus, lobos, lobiou, diminutiuum. Emporter et racler à quelqu'un quelque lopin de ses biens, Destringere et abradere aliquid bonis alicuius. Qui suit les lopins, Parasitus."

L109 (LD) Saint-Merry:

Eglise St-Merri

L119 (NDLn) Nicot defines "cordouannier" on p. 151:

"Cordouannier, m. acut. Est l'artisan qui besongne de cordouan, et se prend pour celuy qui fait des souliers, par ce que pour la plus part les souliers sont faits de cordouan, Calceolarius. Cordouanniere, f. penac. La femme du cordouannier, Calceolaria. Ouvroir d'un Cordouannier, Sutoria. Appartenant au cordouannier, Sutorius."

L121 (NLDn) Villon makes another bequest to the chevalier du Guet in T1828-35. Jean de Harlay likely held this position of captain of the Parisian night police both under Charles VII (for L) and under Louis XI (for T). As late as 1622, there was a chevalier du Guet street in Paris, and he likely commanded several hundred "archers". The mock noble items in Villon's bequest to Harlay are perhaps less a proof of his common estate, than they are of the contempt that was generally reserved for holders of this position. I have included resources portraying the history of the position, the melody and lyrics of an old folk song about the chevalier, implying that holders of this job may have taken advantage of the position to play the lady's man.

Jean de Harlay

Le Chevalier du Guet (ou "Compagnons de la Marjolaine" et fichier "MIDI")

LE CHEVALIER DU GUET (chanson, son historique et un fichier MIDI)

Since Lenglet has attempted to make the surprizing connection between the Ordre de l'Etoile and the chevalier du Guet, I decided to present some web resources about the order:

Jean le Bon instituant l'Ordre de l'Etoile (ordre de chevalrie)

Ordre de l'Etoile (in Ordres de chevalrie en France)

L122 (NLDn) Nicot defines "heaulme" on p. 332:

"Heaulme, m. penac. Habillement de teste de l'homme d'armes, ce qu'en Amadis est Armet, l'Italien l'appelle aussi Elmo et Elmeto, l'Espagnol Yelmo, et l'Alemand Helm. Qui a un heaulme en sa teste, Galeatus."

L125 (NLDn) Nicot defines "rubis" on p. 575:

"Rubis, pierres precieuses, Carbunculus".

The last definition would have leant credence to Marot's interpretation, cited in the notes.

Here is a similar definition in the 1694 Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française :

"On appelle fig. & par plaisanterie, Rubis, Des boutons rouges qui viennent au visage, principalement sur le nez. Il a des rubis sur le nez. "

L127 (NLDt) ...en Chastellet

Villon does refer indirectly to the Châtelet at several points in T according to Rychner-Henry, Le Testament Villon , II (Geneva: Droz, 1974), 167. The following historical presentation of the Châtelet offers some interesting medieval anecdotes.

Le Grand Châtelet

L129-36 (NLDt & NLDn) Lenglet's insertion of this octave from MS C is not completely faithful in spelling, and he has trimmed a superfluous subject pronoun and verb from the first line. I have transcribed the text of the manuscript with no punctuation or accents, and I have underlined the words where Lenglet's text differs.

      Item je laisse a Perrenet Marchant
      Qu'on dit le Bastard de la Barre
      Pour ce qu'il est ung bon marchant
      Luy laisse trois gluyons de feurre
      Pour estendre dessus la terre
      A faire l'amoureux mestier
      Ou il luy fauldra sa vie querre
      Car il ne scet autre mestier

The insertion in the text disignated in the notes is part of the web of proof that the author of the notes and editor the text are the same.

L129 (NLDn) Lenglet's citation of T771 "et suivants."as proof that Villon had intended the restored octave to be a part of L is also proof that the author of the notes is the editor of the text, for no one at that time was using line numbers in Villon's text save the current editor. The reference in modern editions would be T763-68. Here is the passage as it would have appeared in his edition:

      De pictié ne suis reffroidy
      Envers le bastart de la Barre,
      Parmy ces troys gluyons de foerre
      Je lui donne mes vieilles nattes,
      Bonnes seront pour tenir serre
      Et soy soustenir sur les pattes.

L132 Nicot defines "foarre" on p. 290:

"Foarre, m. penacut. Est la longue paille du bled et autre grain. Ainsi dit-on distinctement Foarre de froment, Stramen, siue stramentum. Il semble venir de Far. Et peut estre seroit-ce mieux dit Farre."

and "glu" on p. 315:

"Glu, a Graeco nomine, gloios, Viscus, vel Viscum, Gluten, Glutinum. ¶ Glu de foarre, Fascis stramentorum."

L139 (NLDn) Here is how Nicot defines "souloir", on p. 605:

"Souloir, Solere.
Je souloy faire cela, Illud solebam facere.
Ce ne semble plus estre celuy qui souloit, Non agnosco, Bud. ex Valer. Max.
C'est tousjours celuy qui souloit, In omnibus vitae partibus similis sui, Bud. ex Cic".

the same is defined in the 1694 Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française (vol. 2, p. 496)

"SOULOIR. v. n. Avoir de coustume. Les Romains souloient faire. Il ne s'est guere dit qu'à l'imparfait. Il est vieux."

L140 (NLDn) There are in Paris, "Rue Des Fosses Saint Bernard, Rue Des Fosses Saint Jacques, Rue Des Fosses Saint Marcel". There is also a stop on RER D called "Survilliers - Fosses".

We know that a "rue des Fosses Montmartre" was there as late as 1798:

The Illustrious Gaudissart, by Balzac

says "I established the Territorial Bank in the Rue des Fosses-Montmartre at Paris in 1798."

On the Noctambus line "Ligne H : CHATELET <=> GARE DE NOGENT-LE PERREUX", there is a stop at "Saint Maur des Fosses".

L141 (NLDn). "Tabart" is not mentioned in Nicot or in the 1694 Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française , and Lenglet seems dependant on Marot's note.

"TABARD, subst. masc. (D. LALANDE) [T-L : tabart]"Ample et long manteau" : luy fist faire et vestir par dessus ung tabart tout semé des armes qu'il soloit porter (LE BEL, Chron. V.D., t.1, 1352-1356, 27)."

"Tabard" in the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

"Tabard The Tabard, in Southwark, is where Chaucer supposes his pilgrims to have assembled. The tabard was a jacket without sleeves, whole before, open on both sides, with a square collar, winged at the shoulder like a cape, and worn by military nobles over their armour. It was generally emblazoned with heraldic devices. Heralds still wear a tabard.

    'Item ... a chascun ung grand tabart
    De cordelier, jusques aux pieds.'
    Le Petit Testament de Maistre François Villon."

L144 (NLDn) Nicot defines "houseaux" on p. 340:

"Des Houseaux, Ocrea ocreae."

The same is defined in the 1694 Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française (vol. 1, p. 573):

"HOUSEAUX. s. m. pluriel. (L'H s'aspire.) Sorte de chaussure de jambes contre la pluye & la crotte, comme sont les bottes, les guestres, les gamaches, &c. Il est vieux & n'a plus d'usage qu'en cette phrase figurée. Il a quitté ses houseaux, pour dire, Il est mort."

L148-150 (NLDn):

The Marot tradition, inherited by the 1723 Coustelier edition, has a significantly different text:

    Affin qu'ilz en soient mieulx cogneux,
    Pauvres orphelins impourveuz
    Et desnuez comme le ver;

Marot had probably created the first line, which Lenglet strikes, inserting "Tous deschaussez tous despourveu[z]," between the second and third of these. Since he does not mention a printed edition as the source of this significant variant, we are justified in suspecting Ms. C whose reading is a perfect match in line order and text. The 1723 edition text descends in all probability from Marot. There is one printed text before Marot which appears to share the tradition of Ms. C on this line:

Chantilly, Musée Condé IV p.20 E.69. Le grant testament villon et le petit/ Son codicille Le jargon et ses ballades. [Paris: Germain Bineaut, 1490].

This is perhaps the most interesting of the incunables, in its presentation of L, because it departs from I to embrace the manuscript tradition in 25 significant variants. However it is not specifically mentioned by Lenglet.

L158 (NLDn): The 1694 Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française (vol. 1, p. 102) defines the word like this:

"Blanc, veut dire aussi, Une espece de petite monnoye valant cinq deniers; mais en ce sens il n'a plus d'usage au singulier, & on ne s'en sert ordinairement qu'au pluriel au nombre de trois & de six. Une piece de trois blancs. un pain de six blancs. du ruban à six blancs l'aune."

According to Julien Greimas, Dictionnaire du moyen français (Paris: Larousse, 1992): "3. Petite pièce de monnaie d'argent valant la moitié d'un sou". Here are some fifteenth-century French "blancs":

L161 (NLDn): "nominat[ï]on":

Villon refers to this as "mes tiltres" in T1307, when he reviews this bequest to the same legatees. The reference is to an official letter granting him the priviege of soliciting an ecclesiastical benefice (some manner of office, upon vacancy), confirmed by a reading of the official records of the University of Paris:

MS Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Université de Paris, Registre de la Faculté des Arts, no 1

An entry dated March 1448 (old style), under the name Franiscus de Monlt Corbier (fol 97v) shows Villon among those who received the the title of "bachelier". Another, dated August 26, 1452 (old style) under the same name, shows him in a list of those receiving the titles of "licencié" and "maistre ès arts". It is the

Pragmatique Sanction (1438)

which gave him this privilege.

L164 (NLDn) Nicot defines "forclorre" on p. 293:

"Forclorre, quasi Foris claudere, Excludere.
Forclorre, Denier justice, Fermer la porte de justice, Iuris experiundi aut postulandi aditum intercludere. B.
Forclos, quasi Foris clausus, Exclusus.
Estre forclos, Praescriptione temporis excludi.
Forclos de produire, Proferendi instrumenti facultate exclusus, Instruendae causae facultate exclusus, copiarumque proferendarum,
Praescriptione non prolati intra diem instrumenti exclusus, B.
Forclos ou decheuz et deboutez de fournir, ou faire ce qu'ils avoyent à faire, Emansores, B."

L166 (NLDn): Nicot defines "intendit" on p. 352:

"Intendit, ou escritures principales, Scriptura thematica, Intendentis formula, Scriptio rerum actarum et facti quaestionum editrix et enarratrix, Principalis scriptura, Primae editionis scriptio, vel caput scriptionis. B.
Intendit ou escritures, premieres et secondes additions, Prima scriptionis editio, et secunda tertiaque. B.
Intendit par faits contraires, Scriptura inficialis aut coniecturalis. Budaeus. Escrire par intendit par faits contraires et à toutes fins, Vtrinque themata ad rem pertinentia articulose enumerare, vltro citroque oppositaper diametrum. B."

L172 (NLDn) Nicot defines "estrif" on p. 266:

Estrif, m. acut. Signifie altercation, noise, querele, debat, Contentio. Est prins par metaphore, De ce que les chevaliers combatans l'un contre l'autre, advantagent et affermissent les pieds dans les estriers, pour estre plus roides à cheval, et plus malaisez à abbatre, et de là vient aussi qu'on dit Estriver contre aucun, pour debatre forment à luy. Contendere, Resistere.
Prendre estrif et debat à l'encontre d'aucun Trahere aliquem in disceptationem.
Venir en estrif, Descendere in causam.

L173 (NLDn):

Lenglet's reference to the "Edition du Louvre" of Villehardouin must be to

Villehardouin, Geoffroi de. Histoire de l'empire de Constantinople sovs les emperevrs François , ... A Paris: De l'Imprimerie royale, 1657 (Vol. 1 is edited by Charles Du Fresne, sieur du Cange).

The edition would have been familiar to him, and it is the only one I find printed at the "Imprimerie royale".

L184 (NLDnc) The "Rousseau" victim the crossed-out and unfinished jibe in this note is none other than the poet, Jean-Baptiste Rousseau. There was a well documented quarrel between Lenglet and Rousseau (see the index of Sheridan, Nicolas Lenglet Dufresnoy..., p. 431), and the note itself seems to have little other function than to bring up Lenglet's enemy.

Liste des Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Rousseau

Jean Baptiste Rousseau (1671-1741) - Lieder texts

L202 (NLDt and NLDn) "Aux filles Dieu, & aux Beguynes". There is a parallel food bequest in T1158-65, for which these two groups are among the legatees: "Aux Devotes (=Filles Dieu) et aux Beguines" (T1159)

Beguines & Beghards (Catholic Encyclopedia)

"Les Moustiers de Paris" (Ms. Paris B.N. 837, f. 231.-231v)

La Porte Saint Denis (10e arrondissement)

L211 (NLDt): "potence à sainct Mor". Nicot defines "potence" on p. 498:

"Potence, f. penac. Est une sorte de gibet à pendre quelqu'un, fait d'un gros et rude fust eslevé debout, et sommé d'un petit traversin, qui est la vraye figure et façon de la potence. Selon laquelle est appelée croix potencée en armoiries celle qui au bout de ses quatre branches est ainsi traversée, et la piece entée en chevron audit gros fust, ne sert que d'estay audit traversin, Suspensorium patibulum, S'il se peut ainsi rendre. Potence aussi est ce baston ayant un petit traversin à l'un des bouts, sur lequel les boiteux appuyent leur aisselle pour s'aider à cheminer."

The same is defined in the 1694 Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française (vol. 2, p. 294):

POTENCE. s. f. Assemblage de trois poteaux, dont l'un est pose debout, l'autre est mis dessus en travers, & le troisiesme est ente dans celuy qui est debout, & soustient l'extremite de celuy qui est en travers. Mettre une potence pour soustenir, pour estayer une poutre. il faut mettre une double potence pour mieux soustenir cette poutre. appliquer double potence.

Il y a aussi des potences de fer. Les enseignes des Marchands sont soustenues par des potences. ces lanternes sont portees par des potences.

On appelle, Potences, Deux longs bastons traversez par en haut par un autre baston fort court, dont un homme foible ou estropie se sert pour marcher, en les mettant sous ses aisselles, & s'appuyant dessus. Aller avec des potences. il ne va plus qu'avec des potences.

En termes de Manege on appelle Potence, Le morceau de bois d'ou pend la bague, & lors qu'au lieu d'emporter la bague, ou de la toucher, on donne contre le bois, on appelle cela Brider la potence.

Potence, signifie aussi Gibet, Instrument servant au supplice des criminels que l'on pend. On l'a condamne a la potence. on le condamna a l'assister à la potence. mettre a la potence. attacher a la potence."

The meaning here is certainly directed through the reference to Saint Maur, and it is not difficult to imagine the clutter of abandoned crutches at such a pilgrimage spot

L'abbaye de Saint-Maur-des-fossés was East southeast of Paris. The monastery, founded in the seventh century (as the abbaye Saint-Pierre) became associated with Saint Maur when his remains were allegedly brought from Glanfeuil in 868, which were supposed to cure gout and epilepsy. It is general knowledge that a pilgrimage cult grew around the relics. When this reached its height in the thirteenth century, the monastery changed its name. Its ruins are still present. Saint Maur's day was January 15, in the general season alleged for the writing of L.

St. Maurus (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Maur (Maurus), OSB, Abbot (RM)

Saint-Maur-des-Fossés: Notice archéologique

Charles IV at the abbey of Saint Maur des Fossés

Saint-Maur-des-Fossés (la ville)

L215 (NLDt, NLDn): Sainct Anthoine l'art.

This is a reference to Saint-Anthony's Fire. Ironically Saint Anthony's feast day is January 17, just two days after that of Saint Maur.

Erysipelas or St. Anthony's Fire

Saint-Antoine l'Abbaye (Vercours, France)

The name "Saint-Anthony's Fire" has been used to designate a number of diseases: ergotism (from ergot fungus, claviceps purpurea, which can grow on rye), erysipelas, cellulitis. The hallucinogenic effects of ergoism were associated with witchcraft from the Middle Ages.


L221 (NLDt): concierge de Gouvieulx

Gouvieux (60270) is a commune of the département de l'Oise (60) near Chantilly. In the 1450s it did have a castle and royal domain in ruins.

L224(NLDt) Ecus tels que Prince les donne: The "Prince" to which Villon refers is very likely the "Prince des Fols", who was selected to oversee the annual Feast of Fools, whose season was loosely between Christmas and Epiphany or the Feast of the Circumcision. This reference could very well be tied to Villon's temporal setting for the beginning of L ("Sur le Noël morte saison"). Rather than looking like the contemporary real thing:

[Ecu d'or from the time of Charles VII]

the bequest would be of carboard, like the fools money distributed to parody that of the kings at Epiphany. Here are two more resources on the Feast.

Fêtes païennes du Moyen Age

Notre Dame de Paris and the Feast of Fools

I refer readers to my note on L10, and I add that there is no reason why, in the absence of motivations other than the fictional framework of L, we should not consider the Feast of Fools itself to be at the motivational core of this work. It is replete with the references to the time of year , frivolity generated by parody of testaments and the poet falling asleep while saying an important prayer. The poem did have at least two different versions, as we can see from its texte intégral, indicating perhaps two slightly different audiences. Is this not the mark of a succesful pièce de circonstance ?

More to come

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