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CLIGES by Chretien DeTroyes

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Author Topic: CLIGES by Chretien DeTroyes  (Read 1380 times)
Karyn Rew
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« Reply #150 on: September 20, 2009, 02:35:13 am »

(Vv. 6317-6346.) While Thessala is busy with her remedies, John goes to provide the tower with everything that is necessary. Cliges goes to the tower and comes away bravely and openly, for he has lodged a moulting falcon there, and he says that he goes to visit it; thus no one can guess that he goes there for any other reason than for the falcon. He makes long stays there night and day. He orders John to guard the tower, so that no one shall enter against his will. Fenice now has no further cause to complain, for Thessala has completely cured her. If Cliges were Duke of Almeria, Morocco, or Tudela, he would not consider it all worth a holly-berry compared with the joy which he now feels. Certainly Love did not debase itself when it joined these two, for it seems to them, when they embrace and kiss each other. that all the world must be better for their joy and happiness. Now ask me no more of this, for one can have no wish in which the other does not acquiesce. Thus they have but one desire, as if they two themselves were one.
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« Reply #151 on: September 20, 2009, 02:35:28 am »

(Vv. 6347-6392.) Fenice was in the tower, I believe, all that year and full two months of the next, until summer came again. When the trees bring forth their flowers and leaves, and the little birds rejoice, singing gaily their litanies, it came about that Fenice one morning heard the song of the nightingale. Cliges was holding her tightly clasped with his arms about her waist and neck, and she held him in a like embrace, as she said: "Dear fair lover mine. A garden would do me good, in which I could disport myself. For more than fifteen months I have not seen the light of moon or sun. If possible, I would fain go out yonder into the daylight, for here in this tower I am confined. If there was a garden near, where I could go and amuse myself, it would often do me good." Then Cliges promises her to consult with John about it as soon as he can see him. At that very moment John came in, as he was often wont to do, and Cliges spoke to him of what Fenice desired. John replies: "All that she asks for is already provided and supplied. This tower is well equipped with what she wishes and requires." Then Fenice was very glad, and asked John to take her there, which he said he would very gladly do. Then John goes and opens a door, constructed in a fashion which I cannot properly describe. No one but John could have made it, and no one could have asserted that there was any door or window there -- so perfectly was it concealed.
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« Reply #152 on: September 20, 2009, 02:36:10 am »

(Vv. 6393-6424.) When Fenice saw the door open, and the sun come streaming in, as she had not seen it for many a day, her heart beat high with joy; she said that now there was nothing lacking, since she could leave her dungeon-tower, and that she wished for no other lodging-place. She passed out through the door into the garden, with its pleasures and delights. In the middle of the garden stood a grafted tree loaded with blooming flowers and leaves, and with a wide-spreading top. The branches of it were so trained that they all hung downwards until they almost touched the ground; the main trunk, however, from which they sprang, rose straight into the air. Fenice desires no other place. Beneath the tree the turf is very pleasant and fine, and at noon, when it is hot, the sun will never be high enough for its rays to penetrate there. John had shown his skill in arranging and training the branches thus. There Fenice goes to enjoy herself, where they set up a bed for her by day. There they taste of joy and delight. And the garden is enclosed about with a high wall connected with the tower, so that nothing can enter there without first passing through the tower.
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« Reply #153 on: September 20, 2009, 02:36:50 am »

(Vv. 6425-6586.) Fenice now is very happy: there is nothing to cause her displeasure, and nothing is lacking which she desires, when her lover is at liberty to embrace her beneath the blossoms and the leaves. (42) At the season when people take the sparrow- hawk and setter and hunt the lark and brown-thrush or stalk the quail and partridge, it chanced that a knight of Thrace, who was young and alert and inclined to knightly sport, came one day close by the tower in his search for game. The hawk of Bertrand (for~such was his name) having missed a lark, had flown away, and Bertrand thought how great his loss would be if he should lose his hunting-bird. When he saw it come down and light in a garden beneath the tower he was glad, for he thought he could not lose it now. At once he goes and clambers up the wall until he succeeds in getting over it, when beneath the tree he sees Fenice and Cliges lying asleep and naked in close embrace. "God!" said he, "what has happened to me now? What marvel is this I see? Is that not Cliges? It surely is. Is not that the empress with him there? Nay, but it looks like her. Never did one thing so resemble another. Her nose, her mouth, and brow are like those of my lady the empress. Never did Nature make two creatures of such similitude. There is no feature in this woman here which I have not seen in my lady. If she were alive, I should say that it was certainly she herself."
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« Reply #154 on: September 20, 2009, 02:37:56 am »

Just then a pear falls down and strikes close by Fenice's ear. She jumps and awakes and, seeing Bertrand, cries out aloud: "My dear, my dear, we are lost. Yonder is Bertrand. If he escapes you, we are caught in a bad trap, for he will tell that he has seen us." Then Bertrand realised that it was the empress beyond any doubt. He sees the necessity of leaving at once, for Cliges had brought with him his sword into the garden, and had laid it down beside the bed. He jumped up now and grasped his sword, while Bertrand hastily took his leave. As fast as he could he scaled the wall, and was almost safely over when Cliges coming after him raised his sword and struck him with such violence that he severed his leg below the knee, as if it had been a fennel stalk. In spite of this, Bertrand got away, though badly wounded and maimed. Beside themselves with grief and wrath at the sight of his sorry state, his men on the other side picked him up, and insistently inquired who it was who had used him thus. "Don't speak to me now," he says, "but help me to mount my horse. No mention shall be made of this excepting to the emperor. He who thus has treated me must be, and doubtless is, in great terror; for he is in great danger of his life." Then they set him upon his palfrey and lead him through the city, sorely grieved in their fright the while.
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« Reply #155 on: September 20, 2009, 02:38:26 am »

After them more than twenty thousand others come, following them to the court. And all the people run together, each striving to be there first. Bertrand made his complaint aloud, in the hearing of all, to the emperor: but they took him for an idle chatterer when he said that he had seen the empress all exposed. The city is in a ferment of excitement: some regard the news they hear as simple nonsense, others advise and urge the emperor to visit the tower himself. Great is the noise and confusion of the people who prepare to accompany him. But they find nothing in the tower, for Fenice and Cliges make their escape, taking with them Thessala, who comforts them and declares to them that, if perchance they see people coming after them to arrest them, they need have no fear; that they would never approach to do them harm within the range of a strong cross-bow. And the emperor within the tower has John sought for and brought. He orders him to be bound and tied saying that he will have him hanged or burnt, and will have his ashes scattered wide. He shall receive his due reward for the shame he has caused the emperor; but this reward will not be agreeable, because John has hidden in the tower his nephew with his wife.
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« Reply #156 on: September 20, 2009, 02:38:50 am »

"Upon my word, you tell the truth," says John; "I will not lie, but will go still further and declare the truth, and if I have done any wrong it is right that I should be seized. But I offer this as my excuse: that a servant ought to refuse nothing when his lawful lord commands. Now, every one knows forsooth that I am his, and this tower is too." "It is not, John. Rather is it thine." "Mine, sire? Yes, after him: but neither do I belong to myself, nor have I anything which is mine, except what he pleased to bestow on me. And if you should think to say that my lord is guilty of having done you wrong, I am ready to take up his defence without any command from him. But I feel emboldened to proclaim openly what is on my mind, just as I have thought it out, for I know full well that I must die. So I will speak regardless of results. For if I die for my lord's sake, I shall not die an ignoble death, for the facts are generally known about that oath and pledge which you gave to your brother, that after you Cliges should be emperor, who now is banished as a wanderer. But if God will, he shall yet be emperor! Hence you are open to reproach, for you ought not to have taken a wife; yet you married her and did Cliges a wrong, and he has done you no wrong at all. And if I am punished with death by you, and if I die wrongfully for his sake, and if he is still alive, he will avenge my death on you. Now go and do the best you can, for if I die you shall also die."
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« Reply #157 on: September 20, 2009, 02:39:13 am »

(Vv. 6587-6630.) The emperor trembles with wrath upon hearing the mocking words addressed to him by John. "John," he says. "thou shalt have so much respite, until we find thy lord, who has done such wrong to me, though I loved him dearly and had no thought of defrauding him. Meanwhile, thou shalt stay in prison. If thou knowest what has become of him, tell me at once, I order thee." "I tell you? How can I commit such treachery? Were the life to be drawn from my body I would not reveal my lord to you, even if I knew his whereabouts. As a matter of fact, I do not know any more than you where they have gone, so help me God! But there is no need for your jealousy. I do not so much fear your wrath that I should not say, so that all can hear, how you have been deceived, even my words are not believed. You were deceived and tricked by potion you drank on your wedding night. Unless it happened in dream, when you were asleep, you have never had your pleasure with her; but the night made you dream, and the dream gave you as much satisfaction as if it had happened in your waking hours that she had held you in her arms: that was the sum of your satisfaction. Her heart was so devoted to Cliges that she feigned death for his sake; and he had such confidence in me that he explained it all to me and established her in my house, which rightfully belongs to him. You ought not to find fault with me. I ought, indeed, to be burnt or hanged, were I to betray my lord or refuse to do his will."
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« Reply #158 on: September 20, 2009, 02:39:43 am »

(Vv. 6631-6784.) When the emperor's attention is recalled to the potion which he had been pleased to drink, and with which Thessala had deceived him, then he realised for the first time that he had never had pleasure with his wife, unless it had happened in a dream: thus it was but an illusory joy. And he says that if he does not take vengeance for the shame and disgrace inflicted upon him by the traitor who has seduced his wife, he will never again be happy. "Now quick!" he says, "as far as Pavia, and from here to Germany, let no castle, town, or city remain in which search is not made. I will hold that man above all others dear who will bring to me captive the two of them. Now up and down, near and far, go diligently and search!" Then they started out with zeal and spent all that day in the search. But in the number Cliges had some friends, who, if they found them, would have led them to some hiding-place rather than hale them back again. All that fortnight they exhausted themselves in a fruitless search. For Thessala, who is acting as their guide, conducts them by her arts and charms in such security that they feel no dread or fear of all the strength of the emperor. They seek repose in no town or city; yet they have all they wish or desire, even more so than is usually the case. For all they need is procured for them by Thessala, who searches and scours and purveys for them. Nor is there any who hunts them now, for all have returned to their homes again. Meanwhile Cliges is not idle, but starts to find his uncle, King Arthur.
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« Reply #159 on: September 20, 2009, 02:40:01 am »

He continued his search until he found him, and to him he made his claim and protest about his uncle, the emperor, who, in order to disinherit him, had disloyally taken a wife, which it was not right for him to do; for he had sworn to his father that he would never marry in his life. And the King says that with a fleet he will proceed to Constantinople, and that he will fill a thousand ships with knights, and three thousand more with men-at-arms, until no city or burg, town or castle, however strong or however high, will be able to withstand their assault. Then Cliges did not forget to thank the King for the aid he offered him. The King sends out to seek and summon all the high barons of the land, and causes to be requisitioned and equipped ships, war vessels, boats, and barks. He has a hundred ships loaded and filled with shields, lances, bucklers, and armour fit for knights. The King makes such great preparations for the war that never did Caesar or Alexander make the like. He orders to assemble at his summons all England, and all Flanders, Normandy, France, and Brittany, and all the men as far as the Pyrenees. (43)
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« Reply #160 on: September 20, 2009, 02:40:47 am »

Already they were about to set sail, when messengers arrived from Greece who delayed the embarkation and kept the King and his people back. Among the messengers who came was John, that trusty man, for he would never be a witness or messenger of any news which was not true, and which he did not know for a certainty. The messengers were high born men of Greece, who came in search for Cliges. They made inquiry and asked for him, until they found him at the King's court, when they said to him: "God save you, sire! Greece is made over to you. and Constantinople is given to you by all those of your empire, because of the right you have to them. Your uncle (but you know it not) is dead of the grief he felt because he could not discover you. His grief was such that he lost his mind; he would neither drink nor eat, but died like a man beside himself. Fair sire, now come back again! For all your lords have sent for you. Greatly they desire and long for you, wishing to make you their emperor." Some there were that rejoiced at this; and others there were who would have gladly seen their guests elsewhere, and the fleet make sail for Greece. But the expedition is given up, and the King dismisses his men, and the hosts depart to their homes again.
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« Reply #161 on: September 20, 2009, 02:41:16 am »

And Cliges hurriedly makes haste in his desire to return to Greece. He has no wish to tarry. His preparations made, he took his leave of the King, and then of all his friends. and taking Fenice with him, he goes away. They travel until they arrive in Greece, where they receive him with the jubilation which they ought to show to their rightful lord, and they give him his sweetheart to be his wife. Both of them are crowned at once. His mistress he has made his wife, but he still calls her his mistress and sweetheart, and she can complain of no loss of affection, for he loves her still as his mistress, and she loves him, too, as a lady ought to love her lover. And each day saw their love grow stronger: he never doubted her, nor did she blame him for anything. She was never kept confined, as so many women have been who have lived since her time. For never since has there been an emperor who did not stand in fear of his wife, lest he should be deceived by her, upon his hearing the story of how Fenice deceived Alis, first with the potion which he drank, and then later by that other ruse. Therefore, every empress, however rich and noble she may be, is guarded in Constantinople as in a prison, for the emperor has no confidence in her when he remembers the story of Fenice. He keeps her constantly guarded in her room, nor is there ever allowed any man in her presence, unless he be a eunuch from his youth; in the case of such there is no fear or doubt that Love will ensnare them in his bonds. Here ends the work of Chretien. (44)
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« Reply #162 on: September 20, 2009, 02:41:42 am »

[End of "Cliges"] ENDNOTES:
NOTE: Endnotes supplied by Prof. Foerster are indicated by "(F.)"; all other endnotes are supplied by W.W. Comfort.

(34) For this tournament and its parallels in folk-lore, see Miss
     J.L. Weston, "The Three Days' Tournament" (London, 1902).
     She argues (p. 14 f. and p. 43 f.) against Foerster's
     unqualified opinion of the originality of Chretien in his
     use of this current description of a tournament, an opinion
     set forth in his "Einleitung to Lancelot", pp. 43, 126, 128,
     138.
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« Reply #163 on: September 20, 2009, 02:42:07 am »

(35) Note that Chretien here deliberately avoids such a list of
     knights as he introduces in "Erec". (F.)


(36) It must be admitted that the text, which is offered by all
     but one MS., is here unintelligible.  The reference, if any
     be intended, is not clear. (F.)


(37) Much has been made of this expression as intimating that
     Chretien wrote "Cliges" as a sort of disavowal of the
     immorality of his lost "Tristan".  Cf. Foerster, "Cliges"
     (Ed. 1910), p. xxxix f., and Myrrha Borodine, "La femme et
     l'amour au XXIe Seicle d'apres les poemes de Chretien de
     Troyes" (Paris, 1909).  G. Paris has ably defended another
     interpretation of the references in "Cliges" to the Tristan
     legend in "Journal des Savants", 1902, p. 442 f.


(38) This curious moral teaching appears to be a perversion of
     three passages form St. Paul's Epistles: I Cor. vii. 9, I
     Cor. x. 32, Eph. v. 15.  Cf. H. Emecke, "Chretien von Troyes
     als Personlichkeit und als Dichter" (Wurzburg, 1892).


(39) "This feature of a woman who, thanks to some charm,
     preserves her virginity with a husband whom she does not
     love, is found not only in widespread stories, but in
     several French epic poems.  In only one, "Les Enfances
     Guillaume", does the husband, like Alis, remain ignorant of
     the fraud of which he is the victim, and think that he
     really possesses the woman.... If Chretien alone gave to the
     charm of the form of a potion, it is in imitation of the
     love potion in "Tristan".  (G. Paris in "Journal des
     Savants", 1902, p. 446).  For many other references to the
     effect of herb potions, cf. A. Hertel, "Verzauberte
     Oerlichkeiten und Gegenstande in der altfranzosische
     erzahlende Dichtung", p. 41 ff. (Hanover, 1908).


(40) I have pointed out the curious parallel between the
     following passage and Dante's "Vita Nova", 41 ("Romantic
     Review", ii. 2).  There is no certain evidence that Dante
     knew Chretien's work (cf. A. Farinelli, "Dante e la
     Francia", vol. i., p. 16 note), but it would be strange if
     he did not know such a distinguished predecessor.


(41) For the legend of Solomon deceived by his wife, see Foerster
     "Cliges" (ed. 1910), p. xxxii. f., and G. Paris in
     "Romania", ix. 436-443, and in "Journal des Savants", 1902,
     p. 645 f.  For an additional reference, add "Ipomedon",
     9103.


(42) For an imitation of the following scene, see Hans Herzog in
     "Germania", xxxi. 325.


(43) "Porz d'Espaingne" refers to the passes in the Pyrenees
     which formed the entrance-ways to Spain.  Cf. The "Cilician
     Gates" in Xenophon's "Anabasis".


(44) Chretien here insists upon his divergence from the famous
     dictum attributed to the Countess Marie de Champagne by
     Andre le Chapelain: "Praeceptum tradit amoris, quod nulla
     etiam coniugata regis poterit amoris praemio coronari, nisi
     extra coniugii foedera ipsius amoris militae cernatur
     adiuneta". (Andreae Capellini, "De Amore", p. 154; Ed.
     Trojel, Havniae, 1892).

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