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|Lords, you who have wives
And who have raised them up above you,
Who have made them lord over you,
|4||You only shame yourself!
Hear this small cautionary tale
That for you is here written;
Well it is that you heed
|8||That you must not do
Good to your wife
That you will be held less dear.
The crazy ones must be punished
|12||And if you teach them
That they must not become prideful
Towards their lord, or lord over him,
Rather hold him dear and love him,
|16||And obey and honor [him]:
If they don’t do it, shame on them.
Now, I will go down into my story
Of the exemplum that I must tell,
|20||That they must listen well
Those who make their wives lord,
And of whom it dishonors.
What can I say about it? This you can know:
|24||There is no such bad joke by the truth!
There was one a rich man
Who had many riches:
He had knights and held a great position of power.
|28||But he loved his wife so much
That he raised her up above him,
And abandoned the lordship
Of his land, of his house,
|32||And granted her the gift of everything.
Thus the wife held him so vile
And so low that when he
Said something, she contradicted him
|36||And undid all that he did.
They had a very beautiful daughter
Such that far went the news
Of her beauty both here and there,
|40||Her reputation was much discussed
That a count heard speak of it.
Immediately he began to love her.
Never had he seen her, and nevertheless
|44||He loved her. It happens offen
And one loves on account of praise
without seeing. This seems good.
The count did not have a wife.
|48||He was young and wise
And was full of knowledge
Which is worth more than possessions
The young girl of which they told him,
|52||Gladly he would see her –
To see if they told the truth or if they lied.
Then he saw her: hear how.
The count went hunting one day
|56||With three of his knights
The hunter led the dogs>
They were in the forest all day
Hunting until after three in the afternoon,
|60||When the water rose, loud thunder,
Lightning and much rain.
They were separated and got lost
The count’s men, except four
|64||Who went off in one direction.
The sun went down on the horizon.
The counts says, “What is your advice?
I don’t know what we can do.
|68||We can’t go on (68)
To one of our houses:
The sun is going down,
I don’t know where our people are,
|72||Except that I think they’ve gone off.
We must get to a hostel,
But I don’t know which one.
While the count is lamenting,
|76||They went down by a path
Into a garden, by a pond
To the house of the knight,
The one who had the beautiful daughter.
|80||Behold them riding there –
This day it rained and was no beautiful,
They dismounted under an elm tree,
On a stone stoop sat the gentleman
|84||Who owned the house.
Behold the count kindly
greets him, and he returns
the greeting, and then stands.
|88||The count asks for lodging.
“Sire,” says the knight,
“I would gladly lodge you
that you need rest,
|92||But I do not dare lodge you.”
— “You do not dare? Why?” — “Because of my wife.
In no way will she want to grant
Anything I say or do;
|96||She has lordship over me,
Ownership of my house,
Of all that I control,
It is not hot, that I am vexed,
|100||I am only a rain cape,
She does what she wants, ignores mine,
She does not does nothing I say.”