Aucassin and Nicolete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 55 pages of information about Aucassin and Nicolete.

At last the lovers meet, in the lodge of flowers beneath the stars.  Here the story should end, though one could ill spare the pretty lecture the girl reads her lover as they ride at adventure, and the picture of Nicolete, with her brown stain, and jogleor’s attire, and her viol, playing before Aucassin in his own castle of Biaucaire.  The burlesque interlude of the country of Torelore is like a page out of Rabelais, stitched into the cante-fable by mistake.  At such lands as Torelore Pantagruel and Panurge touched many a time in their vague voyaging.  Nobody, perhaps, can care very much about Nicolete’s adventures in Carthage, and her recognition by her Paynim kindred.  If the old captive had been a prisoner among the Saracens, he was too indolent or incurious to make use of his knowledge.  He hurries on to his journey’s end;

   “Journeys end in lovers meeting.”

So he finishes the tale.  What lives in it, what makes it live, is the touch of poetry, of tender heart, of humorous resignation.  The old captive says the story will gladden sad men:-

   “Nus hom n’est si esbahis,
   tant dolans ni entrepris,
   de grant mal amaladis,
   se il l’oit, ne soit garis,
   et de joie resbaudis,
      tant par est douce.”

This service it did for M. Bida, the painter, as he tells us when he translated Aucassin in 1870.  In dark and darkening days, patriai tempore iniquo, we too have turned to Aucassin et Nicolete. {5}


Where smooth the Southern waters run
   Through rustling leagues of poplars gray,
Beneath a veiled soft Southern sun,
   We wandered out of Yesterday;
   Went Maying in that ancient May
Whose fallen flowers are fragrant yet,
   And lingered by the fountain spray
With Aucassin and Nicolete.

The grassgrown paths are trod of none
   Where through the woods they went astray;
The spider’s traceries are spun
   Across the darkling forest way;
   There come no Knights that ride to slay,
No Pilgrims through the grasses wet,
   No shepherd lads that sang their say
With Aucassin and Nicolete.

’Twas here by Nicolete begun
   Her lodge of boughs and blossoms gay;
’Scaped from the cell of marble dun
   ’Twas here the lover found the Fay;
   O lovers fond, O foolish play! 
How hard we find it to forget,
   Who fain would dwell with them as they,
With Aucassin and Nicolete.


Prince, ’tis a melancholy lay! 
   For Youth, for Life we both regret: 
How fair they seem; how far away,
   With Aucassin and Nicolete.

A. L.


All bathed in pearl and amber light
She rose to fling the lattice wide,
And leaned into the fragrant night,
Where brown birds sang of summertide;
(’Twas Love’s own voice that called and cried)
“Ah, Sweet!” she said, “I’ll seek thee yet,
Though thorniest pathways should betide
The fair white feet of Nicolete.”

Project Gutenberg
Aucassin and Nicolete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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