Sunday, October 28, 2007

Christine de Pisan on Her Husband

Daniel Mitsui recently had up a translation of one of Christine de Pisan's poems:

Ballad 26 ~ to her deceased husband

Marriage is a sweet thing,
I can prove it by my own example,
God indeed gave to me
A good and sensible husband.
Thank God for being willing
To save him for me, for I have truly
Experienced his great goodness:
Indeed the sweet heart loves me well.

The first night of our marriage,
I could already feel
His great goodness, for he never did to me
Any outrage which would have harmed me,
But, before it was time to get up,
He kissed me, I think, one hundred times,
Without asking for any other base reward:
Indeed the sweet heart loves me well.

And he said, with such tender words:
God made me live for you,
Sweet friend, and I think that he had me raised
For your personal use.
He did not stop raving like that
The whole night,
Without being any more immoderate:
Indeed the sweet heart loves me well.

Prince, he makes me mad for love,
When he says that he is all mine;
He will make me die of sweetness;
Indeed the sweetheart loves me well.

[Oevres poétiques de Christine de Pisan, Paris, Firmin Didot, 1891]

Christine's husband died rather young, and although he seems to have had many good qualities, a good head for money does not seem to have been one of them. She was left with a good number of bills and had to learn quickly both how to deal with creditors and how to bring in dollars, which she did by writing.

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