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    Machaut's Motet 15 and the 'Roman de la rose': The Literary Context of 'Amours qui a lepouoir/Faus Samblant m'a deceu/Vidi Dominum'Author(s): Kevin BrownleeReviewed work(s):Source: Early Music History, Vol. 10 (1991), pp. 1-14Published by: Cambridge University PressStable URL: .

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    EarlyMusicHistory 1991) Volume0



    Guillaume de Machaut's motet no. 15 is structured,from a literarypoint of view, around an opposition fundamental to the latemedieval courtly tradition: that between two key personificationcharacters, Amours and Faux Semblant. This opposition is intro-duced as the first words of the triplum ('Amours qui a le pouoir')are sung against those of the motetus ('Faus Samblant m'a deceii').In the present essay I propose, first and foremost, to consider thebroader literary context provided for the Amours-Faux Semblantopposition in motet 15 by the Romandela rose, he Frenchvernacu-lar literary work that served as the point of departurefor virtuallyall late medieval courtly poetry. I shall then turn to a second kindof context for the words of the motet, that provided by the text ofthe tenor. The more general literary phenomenon to be investi-gated, therefore, involves the ways in which the meaning of aparticular lyric, or lyrico-musical, composition is in partdetermined, 'conditioned' by a variety of narrative contexts whichconstitute the tradition in which it is situated, against which it ismeant to be read.'An earlierversion of this essay was given at a colloquium on 'The Gothic Motet: Politics,Words and Music in the Fourteenth Century', held at Princeton University on 22October 1989. I should like to thank Margaret Bent forhaving invited me to participatein the colloquium and for her subsequent helpful critical comments.In the case of the Rose,therefore, I am not positing a precise intertextual dependence ofmotet 15 on the Amours-Faux Semblant sequence in Jean de Meun's poem. I am,rather, viewing this sequence as a central determining factor for the way in which thesubsequent mainstream tradition of courtly poetry in late medieval France conceived of


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    Kevin BrownleeBefore proceeding to the motet's context, I shall first undertake abrief structural analysis. The full text of the motet is as follows:2TriplumAmours qui a le pouoirDe moy faire recevoirJoie ou mort obscure,Ne fait par sa grace avoir5 A ma dame tel voloir

    Qu'elle m'ait en cure.Durer ne puis longuement,Car pour amer loiaumentNe pour servir liement,10 Sans penser laidure,Ne pour celer sagementN'ay confort n'aligementDe ma dolour dure;Einsois com plus humblement15 La sueffre et endure,De tant est plus durementTraities mes cuers, que briefmentMorray dolereusementDe dueil et d'ardure,20 Et tant sui plus eslongi6sDe merci et estraingiesDe ma dame pure.Mais aveuc tous ces meschiesSueffreAmours, qui est mes chies,25 Que Raison, Droiture,Dougour, Debonnairet6,Franchise, Grace et Pit6N'ont pouoir 'aCruaute,Ensois regne et dure30 En corps d'umblece pareCuers qui est pleins de durteEt de couverture,Refus qui d'espoir osteM'a la norriture,

    MotetusFaus Samblant m'a deceiiEt tenu en esperanceDe joie merci avoir;Et je l'ay com fols creii5 Et mis toute ma fianceEn li d'amoureus vouloir.Las! or m'a descongneii,Quant de moy faire aligenceHa heii temps et pooir;10 N'en riens n'a recongneiiMa dolour ne ma grevance,Eins m'a mis en nonchaloir.

    TenorVidi dominum facie ad faciem[et salva facta est animamea.]

    the Amours-Faux Semblant relationship in terms of linguistic and behavioural conven-tions. The Rose'sunique position of literarydominance vis-a-vis that tradition in generaland Machaut's courtly oeuvre in particular amply justify this view. See D. Poirion, Leporteet le prince:L'6volutionu lyrisme ourtois e Guillaume e Machaut Charlesd'Orlians(Paris, 1965); P.-Y. Badel, Le 'Roman e la rose'auxIvesiecle:Etudedela receptionel'euvre(Geneva, 1980); K. Brownlee, Poetic dentityn Guillaume eMachautMadison, 1984).2 Quoted from V. Chichmaref, ed., Guillaume e Machaut:poisieslyriques,2 vols. (Paris,1909), modified by F. Ludwig, ed., Guillaume e Machaut:MusikalischeWerke, vols.(Leipzig, 1926-54). Translations are mine.


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    Machaut's motet 15 and the Roman e la rose35 Et Dangiers qui despit6M'a sans cause et si grev6Qu'il m'a par desdaing men6A desconfiture.Triplum: 'Amoursqui a...' (vv. 1-38): Love, who has the power to makeme receive eitherjoy or dark death, does not, through his grace, give mylady the desire to care for me (vv. 1-6). I cannot last for long, becauseneither from loyal loving, nor from gracious serving (without an uglythought), nor from discreet concealing, do I have comfort or relief frommy harsh pain (vv. 7-13). Rather, the more humbly I sufferand endure it,the more harshly is my heart treated, so that I shall shortlydie of griefandburning desire, and the fartherI am removed from favour and the more Iam distanced from my pure lady (vv. 14-22). But with all these mis-fortunes, Love (who is my lord) allows Reason, Equity, Sweetness, GoodNature, Openness, Grace and Pity to have no power against Cruelty (vv.23-8); Instead, there reigns continuously in a body adornedwith humilitya Heart which is completely hard and closed, Refusal who has taken thefood of hope away from me, and Resistance who has spurned me withoutcause and has so injured me that he has led me, through disdain, to myruin (vv. 29-38).Motetus: 'Faus Samblant m'a...' (vv. 1-12): False Seeming has deceivedme and has held out the joyful hope of my obtaining favour. And I like afool believed him, and put all the trust of my loving desire in him. Alas!now he has undeceived me, after having had the time and the power towin my allegiance; In no way has he rewardedmy pain and my suffering,rather he has treated me badly.Tenor: 'Vidi dominum': I have seen the Lord face to face; and my life ispreserved.

    The triplum and the motetus involve contrasting self-presen-tations of the speaking subject, who is, in both cases, a standardmale courtly lyricje, articulating a conventional complaint againstthe object of his desire, i.e. that she remains unmoved by him inspite of the intense suffering his love for her causes him. In neithercase does he address his lady directly, however. Rather, he tells twodifferent stories, or two different versions of the same story, of hisunrequited love, each involving a different self-presentation. In thetriplum, the speaking subject presents himself as a loyal servant ofAmours 'who is my lord' ('qui est mes chits', v. 24). Love has thepower to reward his servant by moving the lady in his favour, buthe has, so far, refrained from doing so. In the motetus, there is acontrastive self-presentation of the speaking subject as an unwitting3

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    KevinBrownleevictim of Faux Semblant, who has purposefully and successfullydeceived him (by means of his lady's appearance), before openlyrevealing this deception. To sum up: the lyricje of the triplum hasbeen moved by Love, who does not act upon the 'inside' of theLady; the lyricje of the motetus has been deceived by False Seem-ing, who has acted by means of the 'outside' of the Lady.3 Theopposition between these two contrasting self-presentations is a'dialogic' one in the Bakhtinian sense of the term, i.e. the twoapparently contradictoryterms are mutually defining, at the sametime as they seem to be mutually exclusive.4The generic form ofthe motet is, of course, particularly appropriate to this kind ofdialogic opposition, and thus, as we shall see, to the Amours/FauxSemblant interrelationshipas figured in the Romandela rose.In this context, I should like to mention Sylvia Huot's recentliterarystudy of thirteenth-centuryFrench motets (fromthe Mont-pellier codex) from the standpoint of 'multi-voicedness'. Huotexplores how the thirteenth-century motet as a literary genreexploited its formal features (especially 'simultaneity', as discussedby Margaret Bent5) in favour of dialogism, in particular, todramatise the oppositions between the various registers (includinggeneric conventions) for articulating desire in the thirteenth-cen-tury French literary system.6Before turning to the Rose n the context of motet 15, I want tostress the extraordinarydegree to which Machaut's literary ceuvreas a whole is informedby this work:not only does he utilise the Rose3 For an analysis of the semantic and formal interplay between the voices in another ofMachaut's motets, see L. Wright, 'Verbal Counterpoint in Machaut's Motet Trop lusestbelle Biautepareede valour-Je nesuimie',Romancetudies,7 (1985-6), pp. 1-11.4 See the lucid presentation by T. Todorov in his MikhailBakhtin:TheDialogicalPrinciple,trans. W. Godzich (Minneapolis, 1984), especially ch. 4, 'Theory of the Utterance', pp.41-59. See also M. M. Bakhtin, 'Discourse in the Novel', TheDialogicImagination: our

    Essays, rans. C. Emerson and M. Holquist (Austin, 1981), pp. 259-422; and D. Carroll,'The Alterity of Discourse: Form, History, and the Question of the Political in M. M.Bakhtin', Diacritics,13/2 (1983), pp. 65-83. It should be added that Bakhtin'sown viewsof literary history led him in large part to neglect medieval literature, which in factprovides a particularly fertile field for interpretative analysis from a Bakhtinian view-point. An excellent recent example is C. Segre, 'What BakhtinLeft Unsaid: The Case forthe Medieval Romance', Romance:Generic ransformationromChritien eTroyesoCervantes,ed. K. Brownlee and M. S. Brownlee (Hanover, NH, and London, 1985), pp. 23-46.See M. Bent, 'The Late-Medieval Motet', The Evedyman Companiono MedievalandRenaissanceMusic,ed. D. Fallows and T. Knighton (forthcoming).6 See 'Polyphonic Poetry: The Old French Motet and its LiteraryContext', FrenchForum,14 (1989), pp. 261-78, where Huot analyses the role of generic and codicological contextfor the literary interpretationof thirteenth-centuryFrench motets.4

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    Machaut'smotet15and the Romane aroseas a source of poetic constructs at every level; he also situates hisoeuvreas a whole in relation to the Rose,which thus provides a veryimportantkind of authorisation for Machaut's entire literaryenter-prise. The Prologue s, of course, particularly important in thisrespect.7The centre of the Romandela rose s, in several significant ways,structured around the opposition between Amours and FauxSemblant - an opposition that is also 'dialogic' in that it involvescontrary but mutually defining terms which end by 'contaminat-ing' each other. This takesplace at a varietyof levels. At the level ofplot, the characters Amours and Faux Semblant engage in anextended dialogue, which ends with Faux Semblant being acceptedinto the army of the god of love. At the level of language, Amoursembodies courtly discourse, which is meant to be both elegant andsincere, while Faux Semblant's discourse is largely clerkly - eventheological - as well as fundamentally deceptive. In terms of modeand authority Amours stands for, and explains, lyric, while FauxSemblant introduces (contemporary) history into the plot line ofthe poem for the first time. Let us consider this sequence in somedetail.Near the midpoint of the conjoined Rose text, the Dieusd'Amours appears to Amant and reproacheshim with having beentoo changeable ('muables', v. 10325)8in the service of Love, withhaving desired to leave this service on account of the hardshipssufferedin his thus far unsuccessfullove of the Rose. Amant confes-ses and repents of his fault, begging pardon and readmittance toLove's service, which Amours grants after making Amant repeatthe 'ten commandments of love', the essential code of courtlyspeech and behaviour (vv. 10403-12). Having affirmedthat Amantnow serves him very loyally ('leiaument', v. 10433), Amours prom-ises to help him win the Rose, and summons his troops in order tolay siege to the castle which prevents Amant from reaching hisbeloved.It is in answer to this summons that Faux Semblant' the charac-

    See Brownlee, PoeticIdentity, p. 16-20.8 Citations are from E. Langlois, ed., Le Romandela rosepar Guillaume e LorrisetJean deMeun,5 vols. (Paris, 1914-24).9 For a detailed consideration, see K. Brownlee, 'The Problem of Faux Semblant:Language, History and Truth in the Romande la rose', TheNew Medievalism, d. K.Brownlee, M. S. Brownlee and S. Nichols (Baltimore,forthcoming).5

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    KevinBrownleeter appears in the Rose or the first time, provokinga quite compre-hensible shock and surprise on behalf of Amours, for the courtlylinguistic and behavioural system which he embodies excludes, bydefinition, False Seeming. The implications of this contradictionare temporarilyset aside as Amours first addresses his 'legitimate'assembled barons in the famous speech (vv. 10495-678) in whichthe god of love authorises Jean de Meun's continuation of Guil-laume de Lorris's poem in terms of the first-personlyric mode andthe poetic tradition of courtly discourse.'o Love ends his speechwith a double request of his barons: that Guillaume qua lover-protagonistbe helped in his quest to win the rose and thatJean quapoet-narratorbe helped in his 'quest' to write he romance. In theiraffirmativereply, his barons beg the god of love to give over hisanger against Faux Semblant and to consider him as one of theirnumber (their 'baronie', v. 10925). It is this request and Amours'simmediate agreement that introduce Faux Semblant into the poemdirectly, speaking in his own voice.Faux Semblant's long speech (vv. 10931-12014; 1084 lines) isactually an extended dialogue with the god of love. The dialogicstructureof Faux Semblant's self-presentationconstitutes an essen-tial and unique part of his identity. None of the other major 'discur-sive' characters in the poem (Raison, Ami, La Vieille, Nature,Genius) involves this kind (or this degree) of dialogue. In a veryreal sense, Faux Semblant is presented as a 'function' of his inter-locutor:the god of love himself. This has important implications forboth characters. Two dialogic models are simultaneously at issue:(1) the scholastic examination and (2) the personal confession.Two discursive modes are thus simultaneously- and paradoxically- operative: (1) the new dialectic mode of late thirteenth-centuryphilosophical debate, associated with the Dominicans, and (2) thenew self-revelatorymode of late thirteenth-centuryspiritual narra-tive, associated with the Franciscans.The dialogue between Love and Faux Semblant involves a seriesof seven questions posed by Love, who thus plays the role ofexaminer-confessor.Faux Semblant's seven answers constitute, on10 On the god of love's speech, see K. D. Uitti, 'From Clerc o Poite:The Relevance of theRomancef theRose o Machaut's World', Machaut'sWorld:Science nd Art in theFourteenthCentury,d. M. P. Cosman and B. Chandler, Annalsof theNew YorkAcademyf Sciences,14(1978), pp. 209-16.


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    Machaut'smotet15 andthe Romane arosethe one hand, a penetrating and polemical discussion of certaindoctrinal matters in the context of contemporary practices andabuses, in particular poverty, abstinence and mendicancy. On theother hand, Faux Semblant's answers involve an extended self-definition as character and as language. As character, FauxSemblant is a kind of archetypal religious hypocritewhose disguiseis the role of a mendicant friar.As language, he embodies a radicaldetachment of sign from referent, a systematically duplicitousdiscourse which is ungrounded in, unguaranteed by, any extra-linguistic or transcendent 'truth'.

    Let us now turn to a brief schematic consideration of the dia-logue between Love and False Seeming in structural and in the-matic terms. As will be seen, an overall pattern of shifting isinvolved in the relations between questions and answers, as well asin the identities of the two interlocutors.This is because the statusof the 'truth' that emerges from the dialogue is a function of theevolving speech situation, which is dramatised as such. In linguis-tic terms, there is a continual shifting of appropriateness condi-tions; the cooperativeprinciple is repeatedly 'redefined'in orderforthe dialogue to continue."Love's first set of questions (vv. 10943-51) is posed on behalf ofthe assembled host and involves the issue of semiotic recognition:by what signs can Faux Semblant be known and in what places canhe be found? Faux Semblant's answer (vv. 10952-83) involves asystematic evasion: He has 'mansions diverses' (v. 10952) which hecannot reveal in detail because of his fear of his companions whowant their whereabouts to be kept a secret.Love's second set of questions (vv. 10984-98) repeatsand elabor-ates the first set, stressing that Faux Semblant must now tell thetruth because he is one of Love's barons. The emphasis is onrevelation, on the uncovering of what is normally hidden. Lovedemands that Faux Semblant name his various 'mansions'and thathe explain his mode of life. Faux Semblant's reply (vv. 10999-11082) introduces the motif of clothing as disguise in a context in

    For an extremely useful treatment of appropriateness conditions and of the cooperativeprinciple in the context of literary analysis see M. L. Pratt, Toward SpeechAct Theory fLiteraryDiscourse(Bloomington, 1977), pp. 81-91, 125-32, 214-23. See also H. P. Grice,'Logic and Conversation', Syntaxand Semantics, n: SpeechActs, ed. P. Cole and J. L.Morgan (New York, 1975), pp. 41-58.7

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    Kevin Brownleewhich seeming and being are radically separated. Clothing as signis presented as fundamentally unreliable in a religious context.Both Faux Semblant's clothes and his words deceive qua signs.Love's third question (vv. 11083-90) involves the reverse side ofthe sign/referent dichotomy in the context of religious clothing.Love asks if one can find true religiousfaith in secular clothes. FauxSemblant's reply (vv. 11091-222) begins by affirmingthat clothingas sign is not reliable in this direction either. He then goes on tocharacterise his own identity as an infinitely expandable series ofdisguises which involves the effective nullification of social, age andgender distinctions, through the manipulation both of language(vv. 11194-5) and of clothing, most especially in the context ofreligion.12Love's fourthquestion (vv. 11223-37) is an elaboration:'Di nousplus especiaunlent/Coment tu serz desleiaument' (vv. 11227-9;'tell us more especially in what way you serve disloyally').Appearance and reality, word and deed, sign and referent arecontrasted in three related ways. Then, having once again affirmedthe disjunction between sign and referent in terms of his purelyexternal devotion to poverty, Faux Semblant launches into anextended discussion of the Bible's treatment of the subject ofmendicancy.'" It is important to note that here Faux Semblantspeaks the 'truth'. His biblical interpretationsare valid.Love's fifth set of questions (vv. 11407-13) involves an importantelaboration of these theological and exegetical concerns as he askswhen a sincere religious vocation can legitimately include begging.Significantly, Love's questions here presuppose a truthful inter-locutor, and Faux Semblant's fifth answer (vv. 11414-524) is inaccord with this presupposition. In a significant shift of positionFaux Semblant himself bears witness to theological truth, then

    12 Faux Semblant concludes with a somewhat paradoxical self-revelation(vv. 11219-22):. . En tele guiseCome il me plaist je me desguise.Mout est en mei muez li vers,Mout sont li fait aus diz divers.('I disguise myself in whatever way pleases me. I'm not what I seem to be; my acts arevery differentfrom my words.')'~ The primaryfocus is on the Gospels and St Paul (Luke 18:20; 1 Cor. 11:29; 2 Cor. 8: 9;and 1 Thess. 4: 11-12) as Faux Semblant interprets the New Testament to mean thatbegging was systematically prohibited for Christ and the Apostles.


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    Machaut'smotet15 andtheRoman e aroseshifts back 'into character'as he describes the threats posed by thistruth to his own way of life as a hypocriticalmendicant.

    There is a correspondingshift in Amours's position as interlocu-tor when he poses his sixth set of questions, for he reacts only towhat Faux Semblant has turned back into, expressing shock at thelatter's 'granz desleiautez apertes' (v. 11527; 'great and open dis-loyalty') and asking: 'Don ne crains tu pas Deu?' (v. 11528; 'Don'tyou fear God, then?') Faux Semblant's sixth answer (vv. 11528-618) begins with an extensive self-revelation,in which his activitiesas deceiver and hypocrite are described in detail. Next, FauxSemblant again shifts perspective, as he turns to a discussion ofhow these deceiving criminals ('felons', v. 11599) can be recognised('aperceivre',v. 11599). What is at issue is once again the status ofsigns and the question of how to 'read', how to interpret themcorrectly. It is thus highly significant that Faux Semblant'sresponse is to turn to the one text whose signs never deceive: theBible. For he launches into a detailed paraphrase and gloss ofMatthew 23: 2-4, the locusclassicusor the subject of hypocrisy.

    It is in the midst of this sequence of biblical exegesis that Loveasks his seventh and final question (v. 11619), a brief and specificquery about the meaning of Matthew 23: 4. At this point in theirdialogue, Love plays the role of student to Faux Semblant as mas-ter exegete. Once again, the shifting appropriateness conditionsoperative in this sequence of the Rose'sdiegetic speech situationimplicitly present Faux Semblant as a locus of truthful discourse.Faux Semblant's seventh answer (vv. 11619-976) begins by con-firmingthis status, as he finishes the gloss on Matthew 23: 4-8 withexemplary Christian exegetical insight. What follows is anotherabrupt shift in perspective, as Faux Semblant resumes his 'menda-cious identity' in order to make further disclosures concerning hisdeceitful activities as a religious hypocrite whose words and dressbelie his true nature. It is important to note that repeated shifts inperspective occur quite frequently throughout this section, as FauxSemblant alternately praises and condemns the code of hypocrisy,adopting in turn the viewpoint of Antichrist and the viewpoint ofGod. Faux Semblant ends with an explicit articulation of theinherently ambiguous nature of his discursivepractice. There is bydefinition no external guarantee for the truth of what he says. And9

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    KevinBrownleethe problem of credibility is placed entirely with the receiverof hisdiscourse.14

    This problematic is, as it were, dramatised in the scene immedi-ately following, as the god of love 'officially' takes Faux Semblantinto his service, now that their interrogationcum dialogue is over.In response to Love's question: 'Me tendras tu ma couvenance?'(v.11985; 'Will you keep your agreement with me?'), Faux Semblantgives an emphatically affirmativeanswer, but because of his natureas speaking subject, all of his words are by definition untrust-worthy. Love is thus obliged to question the validity of the verywords he most desires to hear. Faux Semblant responds by saying,in effect, that no extra-linguistic guarantee is possible for his dis-course.'5 Yet this is not tantamount to characterising it as con-sistently mendacious. Rather, Faux Semblant's discursive practiceis fundamentally and radically ambiguous with regard to 'truth',for if on the one hand it is self-definedas a string of empty signifiersdetached from any referent,it is also capable of articulatinghistori-cal and religious truths of the greatest import, as his dialogue withAmours has shown. Love is thus obliged to accept Faux Semblantinto his army on the only terms possible: 'Or seit, je t'en crei senzplevir' (v. 12010; 'So be it, I believe you without guarantee').By this point in the text, the figure of Faux Semblant hasemerged as a kind of emblem of multi-voicedness. At the mostobvious level, this ostensibly unified speaking subject involves a'4 In light of this kind of repeated interpretative 'instability' that is built into FauxSemblant's discourse at every level, it is fitting that he conclude by focusing explicitly on

    the truth status of his discourse in the context of this specific speech situation (vv.11969-76): Mais a vous n'oseje mentir;Mais seje petisse sentirQue vous ne l'aperceiissiez,La mengonge ou poing eiissiez;Certainementje vous boulasse,Ja pour pechie ne le laissasse;Si vous pourraije bien faillirS'ous m'en deviez mal baillir.('But to you I dare not lie. However, if I could feel that you would not recognise it, youwould have a lie in hand. Certainly I would have trickedyou, and I would never haveheld back on account of any sin. And I will indeed betray you even if you treat me badlyfor it.')

    15 Faux Semblant's precise words to the god of love at this juncture are particularlysuggestive: 'Metez vous en en aventure, / car, se pleges en requerez, /ja plus asseiir n'enserez, / non veir sej'en baillaie ostages, / ou letres, ou tesmoinz, ou gages' (vv. 11990-4);'Take your chances on it, for if you demand pledges, you will never be more sure, in fact,not even if I gave hostages, letters, witnesses, or security').10

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    Machaut'smotet15 and theRomane a roseseries of conflicting voices which are repeatedly played off againsteach other.16Furthermore, Faux Semblant's polyphonic discoursecannot be effectivelyinterpreted (orjudged) from an internal pointof view. This is perhaps most obvious with regard to the complexquestion of the 'truth content' of what Faux Semblant says asrelated to the constantly shifting voices and perspectives that con-stitute his speech. In terms of discourse analysis, the 'truth' of FauxSemblant's language is a function of context, of the (diegetic)speech situation, which is itself also changing constantly. For therelationship between Faux Semblant and Amours as interlocutorsis profoundly dialogic. Multiple viewpoints are built into bothspeaker and addressee, in such a way as to give an inescapable'doubleness' to their individual utterances in relation to atemporally evolving speech situation which alone confers meaningupon the characters'discourse.17The net result of all this is that both the narrative context inwhich Faux Semblant appears and the dialogic structure of hisextended speech link him to the god of love. In addition, a numberof suggestive parallels are established between the discourse ofAmours and that of Faux Semblant. Furthermore, within the plotline of the Romandela rose, he help of the character Faux Semblantis essential to the successful storming of Jealousy's castle (vv.12033-533), and thus to the taking of the Rose, i.e. to the ultimatesuccess of Amours's endeavour to help Amant.'816 The voice of the hypocritical friar (linked to the generic discourse of thefabliauand theRomandeRenart);he voice of the biblical exegete and moralising social critic (linked to

    the persona of Guillaume de Saint-Amourand, to a somewhat lesser degree, to the anti-courtly sub-genreof trouverepolitical satire as exemplifiedby Rutebeuf); the voice of theradicalJoachite prophet (linked most specificallyto the Evangileardurable).17 In order to account for this kind of complexity in a literary context which foregroundsand thematises the speech situation as such, a powerfulinterpretativetool is provided byOswald Ducrot's revisionist 'theatrical' model of a fundamentally 'polyphonic' speechact, as described in 'Esquissed'une theoriepolyphonique de l'enonciation',Ledireetle dit(Paris, 1984), pp. 171-233.18 Furthermore,when Amant finally enters the castle under the guidance of La Vieille, hefinds Amours togetherwith Faux Semblant and goes so far as to pray for the latter out ofgratitude for his help in advancing Amant's love suit. False Seeming has been hisessential ally (vv. 14748-52):Si pri pour aus, vaille que vaille.Seigneur, qui veaut traitresestre,Face de Faus Semblant son maistre,E ContrainteAstenance preigne:Doubles seit e simple se feigne.('Therefore I pray for them [=False Seeming and his consort Constrained Abstinence],for whatever that is worth. My lords, he who wants to be a traitor should make False


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    KevinBrownleeAll of this is relevant in terms of the narrative context forMachaut's motet 15. What is suggested by the motet and rein-

    forcedby this narrative context is that the language of Amours andthe language of Faux Semblant, though superficially different,arepart of the same system: the fallen linguistic world of appearances,of seeming, in which courtly discourse- the language of erotic love- is 'ungrounded', as it were, by definition. That is, its truth valueremains elusive, and detached from its beauty or its rhetoricalpower. 'Sincerity'is impossible to determine on the basis of courtlydiscourse, which takes place in a context in which language isdeceptive, in which there is a gap between linguistic seeming andbeing.This problematic of courtly discourse (of the language of desire)is a recurrent theme in Machaut's lyrico-narrativeditsamoureux,nparticular the Voir-dit nd the Remede eFortune.Both of these first-person love stories conclude by casting doubt upon the truth or'sincerity' of the courtly dame's anguage: her declaration of loveand her denial of infidelity.19

    On the one hand, it should be emphasised that Machaut's treat-Seeming his master and take Constrained Abstinence. He may then practise duplicityand pretend simplicity.')It should also be noted, however, that Nature explicitly disapprovesof Faux Semblant(vv. 19345-54), and excludes him (vv. 19355-9) from taking part in her 'saluance'(salvation v. 19357), her solution to Amant's problem, which is the mission on which shesends Genius. Nature's condemnation of Faux Semblant involves, nevertheless,an ambi-guous affirmationof his close link to Amours (vv. 19360-8):Bien les deiist Amours bouterHors de son ost, s'il li pleiist,Se certainement ne seiistQu'il li fussent si necessaireQu'il ne peiist senz aus riens faire;Mais s'il sont avocat pour eusEn la cause aus fins amoureus,Don leur mal seient alegie,Cet barat leur pardone gie.('If Love had not known certainly that they [=False Seeming and ConstrainedAbstinence] were so necessary to him that he could do nothing without them, he shouldhave shoved them out of his army if it pleased him. But if there are advocates to lessentheir wickedness in the case for pure lovers, I pardon them their fraud.')

    At the moment of Genius's arrival on the scene before the castle, we learn that FauxSemblant 'partiz s'en iert plus que le pas / des lors que la vieille fu prise / qui m'ouvril'uis de la pourprise/... II n'i vost onques plus atendre, / ainz s'en foi senz congieprendre' (vv. 19446-8, 19451-2; 'had left in a hurry as soon as the Old Woman wascaptured, the one who opened the door of the enclosure for me ... He had not wanted towait any longer, but had fled without asking leave').19 See Brownlee, Poetic dentity, p. 54-63, 141-56.


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  • 7/30/2019 Brownlee - Machaut


    Machaut'smotet15 and theRoman e a rosement of this theme, both in the dits and here in motet 15, has animportant element of playfulness (and of verbal cleverness) whichis reflected in the very terms in which the theme is articulated, aswell as in the late medieval aesthetic which appreciated linguisticpatterning and paradox for its own sake. On the other hand, as therecent work of Jacqueline Cerquiglini has shown,20this dominanttheme in Machaut's courtly poetry is symptomatic of a moregeneralised 'crisis of language' - of signification- characteristicoflate medieval French literature. Indeed, much of the anti-courtlythrust of Christine de Pizan's polemical attacks against the Romandela roseand its literary progeny can be seen as a strong reactionagainst this 'crisis', against the notion that language - and, inparticular, literary language - is a sign system without firm'grounding'in an ethical referentiality.21By way of conclusion, I should like to suggest that Machaut'smotet 15 implicitly opposes this fallen linguistic world - the worldof bothAmours and Faux Semblant - to God's transcendentWord,to God as the ultimate guarantor of the Word, as well as to theexperience of God unmediated by fallen human language. Thisopposition is suggested by the 'context' of the motet's tenor, that is,by the Latin text associated with the tenor, and its biblical andliturgical setting.22The kind of evocation of words by music that Iam here assuming strikes me as operative in certain other motets ofMachaut, of which at least three merit special mention.23First,motet 4 (De Bon Espoir/Puis qu'enla douce/Speravi),where the tenorcomes from the Introitus Domine, in tua misericordiasperavi. GilbertReaney comments that the text of the tenor 'fits very well with theidea of the lover's hope in the French texts of the upper parts'.24Ifeel, rather, that the key in this motet is the oppositionetween theamorous, courtly hope explicitly articulated in the triplum and20 See 'Unengin i soutil':GuillaumeeMachaut tl'icriture uxive ikcleParis, 1985), especiallypart 3: 'Un monde en &clatsou la crise gendralis'e des signes', pp. 157-200.21 For Christine as critical reader of the Rose,see K. Brownlee, 'Discourses of the Self:Christine de Pizan and the Romancef theRose',RomanicReview,79 (1988), pp. 199-221.22 For an interestingconsideration of the liturgical/biblical context of another of Machaut'smotets (Fonstotius uperbielOivorisferitas/Feraessima), ee H. H. Eggebrecht, 'MachautsMotette Nr. 9', Archivfuiir usikwissenschaft,9-20 (1962-3), pp. 173-95, 281-93.23 For the more general aspect of this phenomenon in motet composition, see Bent, whobegins her discussion with the remark 'Artfurtherconsisted in devising clever (and oftencleverly concealed) symbolic relationships (both verbally allusive and numericallymusi-cal) between the tenor and the parts added to it.'24 See G. Reaney, Guillaume eMachaut London, 1971), p. 51.


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  • 7/30/2019 Brownlee - Machaut


    KevinBrownleemotetus, and the Christian, spiritual hope evoked by the tenor.Secondly, there is motet 8 (Qui espromessesde Fortune/Ha! Fortune/Etnon est qui adjuvat),where the opposition is between Fortune andProvidence. Again, a secular perspective established in the Frenchupper parts is contrasted with a spiritual perspective implicit in thetenor. Thirdly, there is motet 23 (Felix virgo mater/Inviolatagenetrix/Ad tesuspiramus),where the tenor is from the antiphon Salveregina.This motet utilises the text of the tenor in a somewhatdifferentway - to reinforce, to underwrite the semantic content ofthe texts of the upper voices. Of particular importance in thiscontext are the citations from the Salvereginaat the end of themotetus (vv. 54, 56).The text of the tenor for Machaut's motet 15 comes from thethird nocturn at Matins on the second Sunday of Lent. Its biblicalprovenance is Genesis 32: 30. Here Jacob, after having wrestledwith the angel and received both a new name (Israel) and a divineblessing, exclaims: 'Vidi dominum facie ad faciem;et salva facta estanima mea'25(I have seen the Lord face to face; and my life ispreserved). This direct and truthful relationship with the divine isre-evoked by St Paul in 1 Corinthians 13: 12, in the context of hisfamous discussion of caritas:Videmus nunc per speculum in aenig-mate: tunc autem facie ad faciem' (Now we see in a mirrordimly;but then face to face).In the last analysis, then, Machaut's motet 15 is structuredaround two different oppositions: the first, between Amours andFaux Semblant, in fact turns out to be a false opposition, for thetwo seemingly contrary terms are implicitly presented as two sidesof the same, problematic, coin. The second is a true opposition,between the world of human seeming and the world of divine being.The import of both oppositions results from 'context'. In each case,the full meaning of the words of the motet depends upon the evoca-tion of other texts which inform the motet's 'reception', the way inwhich it is understood.

    University of Pennsylvania25 Citations are fromBibliasacrauxtaVulgatam lementinam,d. A. Colunga and L. Turrado,4th edn (Madrid, 1965).