The Book of the Heart Seized by Love
(Le Livre du Coeur d’Amour Épris)
Part V: The Tombs of the Lovers
Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved.
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- Chapter LXXXIII: Courtesy shows the trio the tombs of the noted lovers.
- Chapter LXXXIII: The inscription beneath Caesar’s coat-of-arms.
- Chapter LXXXIV: The blazon of the Roman Emperor Augustus.
- Chapter LXXXIV: The inscription beneath Augustus’ coat-of-arms.
- Chapter LXXXV: The blazon of the emperor Nero and his epitaph.
- Chapter LXXXVI: Mark Antony’s shield and the verse beneath.
- Chapter LXXXVII: The arms of David, King of Judaea.
- Chapter LXXXVIII: The arms of Charles VII of France.
- Chapter LXXXIX: The shield of Theseus.
- Chapter XC: The blazon of Aeneas.
- Chapter XCI: The shield of Achilles.
- Chapter XCII: The blazon of Hercules.
- Chapter XCIII: The coat-of-arms of Paris, prince of Troy.
- Chapter XCIV: The coat-of-arms of Troilus.
- Chapter XCV: The arms of Diomedes.
- Chapter XCVI: The coat-of-arms of Demophöon.
- Chapter XCVII: Lancelot’s shield.
- Chapter XCVIII: The blazon of Tristan.
- Chapter XCIX: The arms of Pontus of Galicia.
- Chapter C: The coat-of-arms of Arthur the Less of Britain.
- Chapter CI: The blazon of Louis d’Orléans (father of Charles d’Orléans the poet).
- Chapter CII: The arms of Jean, Duc de Berry.
- Chapter CIII: The blazon of Louis II de Bourbon (great-grandfather of Jean II, the dedicatee).
- Chapter CIV: The coat-of-arms of Philippe III le Bon.
- Chapter CV: The arms of Charles d’Orléans (the poet).
- Chapter CVI: The coat-of-arms of Charles duc de Bourbon (father of the dedicatee, Jean II).
- Chapter CVII: The blazon of René d’Anjou (the author).
- Chapter CVIII: The arms of Louis de France, Dauphin du Viennois (the County of Vienne).
- Chapter CIX: The coat of arms of Charles d’Anjou, Comte de Maine.
- Chapter CX: The arms of Gaston de Foix.
- Chapter CXI: The blazon of Louis de Luxembourg (a vassal of René’s).
- Chapter CXII: The coat-of-arms of Louis, seigneur de Beauvau (a vassal of René’s).
Chapter LXXXIII: Courtesy shows the trio the tombs of the noted lovers
Lady Courtesy replied to Coeur, that she would willingly grant his request, as it was most agreeable to her. She wished him good evening for a second time and went off to take her rest, while the three companions lay down to sleep at their ease, like those who occupy beds suited to their malady, being weary and fatigued after their journey, and having had little or no rest, due to the trials the sea had made them undergo.
The next morning, at dawn, Desire was the first to wake, who then called to his yet sleeping companions. All three rose and dressed immediately, then left their chamber and went to the Hospital. But they were not there soon enough to precede Lady Courtesy who had already risen and provided the poor lovers who were her patients with whatever they required, as best she could. She saluted them, and wished them good day, and the trio rendered her their salute also. Then Coeur reminded her of her promise: that as soon as she had risen and Mass was said, she would show him the tombs as she had promised.
So, Lady Courtesy took him by the hand, and led him to the church, Desire and Largesse following. They passed through cloisters, rooms and gardens, until they arrived at the entrance to the cemetery. It was a wondrously tall portal, high and wide, preceded by an ancient arched vault, made of pure white alabaster, which was about a hundred feet long and twenty feet wide, and beneath which magnificent coats-of-arms were affixed to the walls, rich, beautiful and of large dimensions, with the devices of the various possessors of these blazons, their names, titles and domains, and the reason why they had voyaged to, and sojourned in, that place.
Then the three companions halted, in silence, and Coeur above all began to inspect the blazons, attentively, to see if he recognised any of them; and, firstly, his gaze fell upon the blazon of Julius Caesar, that most powerful emperor and valiant conqueror. It was of gold, and displayed a two-headed eagle in black, with, above its head four letters in red tipped with gold, namely S.P.Q.R. They were formed in the ancient Roman manner, capitalised as indicated here. Beneath these arms was written, in the style of an epitaph, and in the letters of the Latin tongue:
Chapter LXXXIII: The inscription beneath Caesar’s coat-of-arms
‘I Julius, called Caesar, Rome’s general,
And the first, midst its Republic, of all,
The powerful, and steadfast conqueror,
Whom the wide world once trembled before,
Came here to do homage to the god of Love,
In all humility, for the god did move
My soul, subjecting me to Cleopatra,
Noble queen of Egypt, the shatterer
Of many a sound heart, with her burning arrows,
She whom, above honour and pride, I chose,
Victories, valour, and every noble deed,
To lie in idleness, and my strength concede.’
Chapter LXXXIV: The blazon of the Roman Emperor Augustus
After this blazon of the noble and victorious Caesar, the author says that Coeur saw, on his right, at a distance of not much more than two feet (that is, an ‘aune’ as measured in Paris), an imperial coat-of-arms, on which the crown of Empire was depicted: the blazon was a little larger, and longer by about a foot, than that of Julius Caesar and seemed to have been wrought later than that of the latter, though not by many years. It too was rendered in the ancient manner, though not bearing those letters in red above that denoted the Republic; rather it bore on a plain field the arms of the Empire, and what follows was written beneath it in Lombardic lettering:
Chapter LXXXIV: The inscription beneath Augustus’ coat-of-arms
‘We, Augustus Caesar, Rome’s emperor,
Sole sovereign master of the world, who bore
The weight of governing good men justly,
Keeping the realm at peace through fear, we
Came here constrained by rigour, by the force
Of Love, we called our lord, without recourse;
And so were made, clasped by him with ardour,
To set our shield here, his servant ever.
And thus, with our own hands, we placed it so,
For our dear wife, that our sole love did know,
Wise Livia, who was famed far and wide,
Our love of her ever our truest guide.’
Chapter LXXXV: The blazon of the emperor Nero and his epitaph
A little below Augustus Caesar’s coat-of-arms, but adjoining it, so the tale tells, was that of Nero, the cruel and perverse emperor, whose blazon was like to that of the aforesaid Augustus, revealing not the least modification, except that above the circle of the crown was writ, in ancient Roman lettering, the words FLAGELLUM DEI, and beneath the blazon was inscribed, as epitaph, the following verse:
‘I am the emperor Nero; in my reign,
Pride and spite I did ever entertain,
Despising the Romans that lived neath me,
Thinking to govern them by cruelty,
Yet, nonetheless, though fierce and pitiless,
I was conquered, enamoured to excess
Of Claudia Acte the fair Roman,
My power but vain against that woman,
For the great god of Love, I then obeyed,
His unarmed prisoner, and tribute paid.
Here I set my blazon, that signifies
That Amor such confidence e’er denies.’
Chapter LXXXVI: Mark Antony’s shield and the verse beneath
Following ever the same rank of blazons, after that of Nero, appeared that of the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, it being like to the others I have already mentioned, and beneath it was writ the following verse:
‘I am Marcus Aurelius, the wise,
Emperor, and philosopher likewise,
Singular orator, and sage speaker.
I that sound virtues owned, however,
Despite my science, and the eloquence
I owed to the god of Love, and good sense,
Could not avoid the task of bringing
My coat-of-arms here, thereby obeying
The fair Faustina, who had seized my heart,
And so inflamed it by her loving art,
That I was forced to seek Love’s Hospital,
So, in my story, you may read my fall.’
Chapter LXXXVII: The arms of David, King of Judaea
Ranged opposite to the blazons previously described, that is to say at the same height or greater, appeared the coat-of-arms of the sacred King David crowned with a gold coronet. His blazon was a golden harp on an azure field, its forty strings or so wrought of silver. Beneath it was an inscription in Hebrew, unintelligible to those viewing it, but beneath it the verse was offered in translation, as follows:
‘David, King of Judaea, was my name.
My power and my virtue brought me fame,
My victories, too, gained in many a place.
I was wise and prudent, before God’s face;
My fair deeds garnered me lasting praise,
Once dead, a tale fit to be told always.
Though, by my courage, vast Goliath fell,
Yet the great god of Love enchained me well,
Who made me pay him homage, many a year;
I, despite all, was forced to journey here.
Fair Bathsheba constrained me to obey,
To bear my arms here, and Love’s tribute pay.’
Chapter LXXXVIII: The arms of Charles VII of France
Finer by far than any of the other blazons, be they of emperors and kings, one recently realised, and set in the most honourable place, its decoration being new and fresh, richly wrought and perfect, displayed a winged stag, white as snow, the wings being covered with red, white and green feathers. Above its large uplifted antlers, the stag bore a golden crown charged with precious and resplendent gems, the rays from which shone here and there, casting wondrous shadows; and about its neck, beneath the throat, a strip of rich azure cloth, pure and fine, was tied, decorated with three large, glistening, fleurs-de-lys, and neatly arranged.
The stag was shown three-quarters upright, as if it would leap or fly, soaring from a verdant rosebush, whose roses, here and there, were in full bloom, and white as the lily. Beneath this stag, letters were inscribed in pure gold, which in truth were impossible to read from afar, having being painted so high on the wall. Nor does the story say what was written there, and is silent regarding the matter, passing on to the many other blazons, and firstly:
Chapter LXXXIX: The shield of Theseus
Coeur, who was examining the blazons, lowered his gaze a little, so the author recounts, and his eyes fell upon a shield without a crown, gules with a gold dragon in flight, its claws and teeth in silver, realised in mosaic. This shield was already much discoloured due to its antiquity, nigh-on completely tarnished; beneath it were inscribed letters in ancient Greek which, translated, read:
‘I am Theseus, famed for bravery.
I, who conquered many a fair country,
Fought and slew the cruel Minotaur,
Then allied myself, on another shore,
To Hercules, journeying, for a spell,
To the underworld, to unchain, in Hell,
Its huge and savage guard-dog, Cerberus,
That task requiring all our strength of us.
Nevertheless, love then seized me quite:
Ariadne, and Phaedra, fair and white,
Her sister, conquered, and they granted me
This blazon: Love deals joy and misery.’
Chapter XC: The blazon of Aeneas
Opposite the aforesaid shield, was another, similarly ancient in appearance, though the arms were different, for this shield was black, adorned with an eagle in gold, beneath which was found the inscription transcribed here:
‘Anchises’ son, Aeneas prince of Troy,
Born of the goddess Venus, I did enjoy
Amidst the brave Trojans, a well-earned fame,
Yet Amor caught me in his toils; I blame
The god, for being forced to journey far,
To this place of pilgrimage where we are:
For my love of Creusa brought me here,
The wife for whom I shed many a tear,
In Italy, once I had fled from Troy,
Knowing that in its ruin I’d lost my joy,
While Lavinia, Latium’s princess,
Brought me to hang my blazon here, no less.’
Chapter XCI: The shield of Achilles
Further back, on the other side, was a large shield amidst a host of others, quartered in gold and azure, but since it was higher on the wall than the rest, as though that of an emperor or king, the story relates that Coeur gazed at it intently. Without pausing he began to read the verse found beneath, which ran as follows:
‘Achilles is my name, who in my day
Was famed for my skill in martial array.
I fought Hector, and that prince I slew,
And proved myself in other fair deeds too;
For, in my time, many a foe I met,
And conquered all before my face, and yet,
I’ll not conceal it, was subject ever
To the god of Love, a fervent lover,
Vanquished by Polyxena, thus I bore
My shield to the Hospital on this shore,
And here it adorns the portal on this wall;
So, Love treated one who had conquered all.’
Chapter XCII: The blazon of Hercules
Next to the shield of Achilles was another, larger by a third, of unusual aspect, in the form of a ‘targe’ rather than a plain shield, displaying three erect columns, all in gold, on a field gules; beneath this shield or targe the following verse was inscribed:
‘My name is Hercules, the strong and bold,
All-powerful Jupiter’s son, born of old
To fair Alcmena, that gentle mother,
My power greater than any other.
And yet, despite strength gifted from above,
Subject, nonetheless, to the god of Love.
Deianira, I loved, such was her name,
And thus, I bore, for love of that fair same,
My shield here, to set beneath the portal,
Of this place they name Love’s Hospital.
Those whom he seizes, of his sovereign grace,
Do what they will, shall here find a place.’
‘Hercules battling against two lions’
‘L'Épître Othéa’ (Paris, France) - Attributed to the Master of the Cité des Dames and workshop
British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
Chapter XCIII: The coat-of-arms of Paris, prince of Troy
A little lower down and to the right was a fine shield in the ancient style, except that the forms depicted on its field were wondrously strange to see, for the azure of the aforesaid shield displayed three crawling toads in pure gold; beneath was the following verse:
‘Paris, the fair and graceful, is my name,
The sweet melodious shepherd, known to fame,
Son of great Priam, that virtuous king.
Twas to me the three goddesses did bring
The apple, that I might choose the fairest,
Saying that none they saw, amidst the rest
Of those who wished to serve the god of Love,
Possessed a beauty they did more approve.
I won thereby a lady; in arms was skilled,
Yet the appetite for love, in me instilled,
Led me to set my blazon here, for I
Loved Helen, the fairest maid beneath the sky.’
Chapter XCIV: The coat-of-arms of Troilus
On the other side, was found a similar shield, not bearing the same emblems but of like size: it showed on a silver field a lion gules seated on an azure platform, and the aforesaid lion’s teeth, tongue, and claws were in gold. Beneath the shield this verse was writ:
‘I am named Troilus, one who, in my day,
Great power, skill, and beauty did display.
Many a deed I wrought of which men speak,
With many a feat of arms fair praise did seek;
Yet, nonetheless, true Love defeated me,
For I was tormented to extremity,
By Cressida, who seized and won my heart,
Caught in her net, imprisoned by her art,
Such that the god of Love then led me here,
So that my blazon likewise might appear.
My shield I brought, and set upon this wall,
That here it might be viewed by one and all.’
‘Troilus advising king Priam’
‘L'Épître Othéa’ (Paris, France) - Attributed to the Master of the Cité des Dames and workshop
British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
Chapter XCV: The arms of Diomedes
Opposite was another shield, with a black boar’s-head on a silver field, under which was writ the following verse:
‘Diomedes, the name that I went by,
Strong, and virtuous, and feared was I,
My valour proved in many a fierce fight,
And yet a slave to Love, who ruled outright
A heart enamoured of fair Cressida,
She whom Troilus loved, led by her ever,
She that by his side declined to stay;
He, whom I slew, Cressida did betray.
That she commanded, she for whom I burned
Such that a voyage to this place I earned;
Scorched by Love’s flames, my blazon here I bore,
To Love’s Hospital, on this foreign shore.’
Chapter XCVI: The coat-of-arms of Demophöon
Next to the aforementioned shield another older one was to be seen, which displayed a lion’s head gules on a golden field, with an azure tongue and teeth in silver, and beneath which was written the following verse:
‘Demophöon I, once in Greece a king,
Who when I reigned on Earth, Fame did sing.
Proud, and valiant, all good things I loved;
Of my strength and honour all men approved.
Master of wealth and subjects, such my state,
Yet to be slave to Love still proved my fate.
I was his man, and bound thus to that same,
By my love for Phyllis, my lady’s name.
I was so seized by Love, naught would suffice,
But to make of my shield a sacrifice.
Myself, I bore it here, placing it on high,
For all whom Love masters must do as I.’
Chapter XCVII: Lancelot’s shield
On one of the walls of the vault, a fine large shield was set, better lit than many another affixed to the portal, of much later manufacture, which was banded in red and silver, and beneath which was written:
‘I am Lancelot of the Lake, renowned
In war, more than any that here are found.
I led many an army, in my time,
Conquered many a man in joust sublime,
Plucking out the soul from many a body,
My deeds thus prized, and honoured by many.
Yet Love’s fierce dart changed all my valour
To longing, my prowess and my honour
To thoughts of Queen Guinevere, for that same
I loved, and that love too is known to fame,
Such that my flesh was so consumed by fire,
My shield I set here, to denote desire.’
Chapter XCVIII: The blazon of Tristan
Beside the preceding shield was set another, with a purple band on a gold field, beneath which was inscribed the following:
‘I am Tristan, whose life all men do know;
Many envied my skill and strength below.
I fought in many a fight where my war-cry
Was taken up by others that fought nearby.
For when I was in arms, no man in sight
That was not of my cause but took to flight.
Yet there came a day when the god of Love
Appeared in person and did me remove
To this place, his captive, and I obeyed,
Despite the power that erstwhile I’d displayed;
Now placed on high, my shield is to be seen,
Set here, for love of Iseult, Mark’s fair queen.’
Chapter XCIX: The arms of Pontus of Galicia
Beneath the two preceding shields was hung one of still more recent creation, which was black, sprinkled with white tears, without any other emblem, except that the panel on which the aforesaid shield was placed showed the arms of Galicia, that is to say gold chalices on a red ground, the field scattered with trefoils likewise in gold. Beneath this panel was writ the following verse:
‘Pontus am I, a man well-known to fame
While yet alive, for all men feared my name.
In many a palace hall, my deeds were told,
And high praise I won, from the brave and bold.
Great feats of arms in the forest I wrought,
That’s called Broceliande, and more at court.
But all proved vain, for my heart was given
To Love’s fair service, whose god had riven
That same, and claimed me as his subject true,
Commanding me to place my shield on view,
In Sidonia’s name, Brittany’s princess,
For her father was that realm’s king, no less.’
Chapter C: The coat-of-arms of Arthur the Less of Britain
Beside it was a shield in azure with three golden crowns upon it, and beneath that was the writing that follows:
‘Arthur the Less, of Britain, is my name,
Who ruled many a vassal in that same
Fair realm, and refused many a lady,
Daughters of dukes and counts, many a she
That I might have wed if I had but shown
The slightest wish to make the maid my own;
For I would never grant one my consent.
Nevertheless, Amor his brave bow bent,
And his burning arrow set my heart on fire,
For a maid who filled that same with desire:
Jeanette de l’Étang was that sweet lady’s name,
Of humble birth, her sire unknown to fame.’
Chapter CI: The blazon of Louis d’Orléans (father of Charles d’Orléans the poet)
Many another shield and Moorish buckler and German targe was affixed to the walls, set high or low on either side, so numerous and in such quantity that it was impossible to render a count of them. They bore various emblems, and displayed inscriptions beneath them in Greek, Arabic, German, Latin, English, Spanish, Lombard, French, Hungarian, Bohemian and many another language, though already so faded that it was not possible to decipher them. For that reason, the author falls silent here, a moment, yet undertakes to speak of one noble and magnificent shield, amongst the rest.
Coeur wished to know whom it designated, and to whom it belonged, for it displayed three golden fleurs-de-lys on an azure field, with above them three silver pendants indicating the elder branch. The said shield was supported by a wolf on one side and a porcupine on the other; beneath this magnificent shield was written in noble letters that which follows, no more nor less:
‘The second son of Charles the Fifth am I,
Louis, duc d’Orléans, of kindly eye,
And courteous too, whose good sense maintained
A stout defence gainst Love, and long retained
My freedom, though twenty voices pressed me,
And, in loving tones, in vain, addressed me.
But suddenly I felt the need to love,
A deep desire for union then did move
My heart so fiercely that I then was brought
To seek the god of Love, who swiftly taught
The way to this Hospital; I scarcely know
If I erred or not; yet here my shield I show.’
Chapter CII: The arms of Jean, Duc de Berry
Next to this last, without the least space between, another shield was affixed, a field azure with three golden fleur-de-lys surrounded by a jagged red border; this shield was supported on the one side by a white swan wounded in the breast, and on the other by a brown bear, well-executed and skilfully painted. Below, on a scroll, was written:
‘I am Jean, duc de Berry, such am I
That while a hostage, being forced to lie
In prison for my father, Jean le Bon,
Whom the English seized, my heart was won
By a lady, whom the god did approve,
His English servant, and fell deep in love.
For that graceful maid, the device I bore
Of the white wounded swan, evermore.
Her net held me so, nor could I win free,
And the god of Love then commanded me
To join, in homage, with the others here,
So that my shield, with theirs, might thus appear.’
Chapter CIII: The blazon of Louis II de Bourbon (great-grandfather of Jean II, the dedicatee)
A little lower in the same row, on the right, another shield displayed an azure field with three golden fleurs-de-lys, and a red bar as a mark of cadency. This shield was surrounded by an azure cincture on which was written HOPE in letters of gold, and the aforesaid blazon was supported by two white spotted pug-nosed dogs. Beneath the blazon was written the following verse:
‘Louis, duc de Bourbon, my name by right,
Courteous, graceful, handsome to the sight,
Granted beauty and grace in full measure,
Thanks to the powers of God and Nature.
Indeed, many a lady of honour
Sought me in amorous adventure,
Many an eye assailed me with its glance;
My blazon here is bound, and not by chance,
By a cincture, HOPE writ there forever,
Yet, nonetheless, I swear, late a lover,
Amor made me, at last, by subtle labour,
Set my shield here, before the onlooker.’
Chapter CIV: The coat-of-arms of Philippe III le Bon
A little higher, close to the preceding shield, was another, slightly larger: it was quartered to denote France, Burgundy, Brabant and Limbourg, and, superimposed on these, Flanders. The first quarter showed rows of fleurs-de-lys on an azure field, within a border of silver and red alternating bars; the second quarter, that of Burgundy, showed six slanting bands of alternating silver and azure, within a solid red border; the third, that of Brabant, displayed a lion in gold on a sable field, with red claws and tongue; the fourth denoted Limbourg, a lion gules on a silver field, its tail multi-forked, upright in attack, toothed, clawed and crowned in gold, with an azure tongue; and, at the centre, superimposed on these was the sable lion of Flanders on a golden field, with red claws and tongue.
All around the panel to which this shield was affixed, was an attractive scattering of little heraldic shapes (fusils) spreading over the stones, shapes from which sparks of fire leapt, embellishing the panel quartered simply in black and grey: and beneath the panel a verse was inscribed which read as follows:
‘Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy’
Statuts de l'Ordre de la Toison d'Or. Netherlands, S. (Bruges); between 1481 and 1486
British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
‘Philip of Burgundy, such am I called,
Who, all my life, was by sweet love enthralled,
Maintained by the god of Love in that state.
Yet, at the last, perceptive of my fate,
He forced me to attend this Hospital,
A slave in his service (by his several
Weapons, in battle, conquered and laid low,
In many a country where I chose to go,
And surrendering to that lord, therefore,
One vanquished in the field, captured in war)
Such that, bearing my shield, hither I came,
And neath this portal I have hung that same.’
Chapter CV: The arms of Charles d’Orléans (the poet)
A little higher, but not by much, on the same wall, a truly magnificent shield was placed and affixed, one of recent style, quartered for France and Milan; that it to say with France denoted in the upper quarter on the left, as viewed: three golden fleurs-de-lys on an azure field, with three points on a silver frieze, denoting the elder branch; and Milan on the right: an azure serpent (guivre) on a silver ground, swallowing a child with a crimson body, the shield’s lower quarters repeating the design, with Milan on the left and France on the right, reversing the order of those above. This shield was embraced by a silver chain-mail collar, supported on one side by a porcupine and on the other by a wolf. And beneath the aforesaid blazon was written in good readable characters the following verse:
‘Charles the Fifth, a strong king and a wise one,
Fathered Louis, of whom I was the son.
Louis held the Duchy, by right, although
It was but by appanage, you should know.
Later I possessed it, and, fought with honour
At Agincourt, yet despite my valour,
Was, sadly, taken by the English there,
Captive, in their land, after that affair.
I learnt the language, and one, fair and wise,
I came to know, sweet love did realise,
And wrote many a verse, all well-received,
Such that my shield here is now perceived.’
Chapter CVI: The coat-of-arms of Charles duc de Bourbon (father of the dedicatee, Jean II)
Another shield followed on, azure with three fleurs-de-lys crossed by a red band, and around the shield broken pots were depicted in gold, from which leapt fierce tongues of Greek fire, while the field on which they these pots were set was parti-coloured in black and azure quarters. Beneath this panel was written the following verse:
‘Charles de Bourbon, I, well-known to fame
For graciousness in my day, bore a name
For ever proving joyous and amusing,
And full of the virtues, oft found wanting,
Courtesy, goodness, beauty, and largesse,
Wisdom, honesty, judgement and prowess;
Courted by ladies more than was my sire,
Such that I took for my motto: ‘Greek Fire’,
Inspired to do so through loving ardour;
Yet despite my fire and flame, however,
Here I came, to pay homage to our lord,
The god of Love, and show my shield abroad.’
Chapter CVII: The blazon of René d’Anjou (the author)
There was another shield, next to the former, though larger and broader. Surmounted by a golden crown, it was supported by a dry tree-stump painted in trompe-l-oeil, which had but a single green shoot; above, this blazon was in three segments, those of three kingdoms: Hungary, Sicily, and Jerusalem; and, below, in two segments, those of the duchies of Anjou and of Bar. Hungary was denoted by eight stripes, alternately argent and gules; Sicily by rows of gold fleurs-de-lys on an azure ground, above a rake gules; Jerusalem by a gold Order-of-Christ cross on a silver field, with one smaller cross above, and one beneath, each of its two arms. Anjou was denoted by rows of gold fleurs-de-lys on an azure field bordered by a red band; Bar was denoted by two gold bars on an azure field scattered with gold crosses crosslet, some with pointed stems. Under this blazon, an inscription in French, when translated, read as follows:
‘René of Anjou, I, who wish to be
A mendicant of Love, in beggary,
Thinking it good to be Love’s mendicant,
And prove, thus, a beggarly indigent
With those who would beg of me my heart,
With pleading eyes, and steal it by their art,
Those of sweet speech that encourage me
To be their slave; without naming any,
Ladies, maids, and others I have given
All my love as they too did when bidden.
Tis why the god of Love summoned me here,
To show my blazon; hence, it doth appear.’
‘The arms of René d'Anjou, King of Naples’ (Barthélemy d'Eyck)
Book of Hours, Use of Paris, France, S. E. (Aix-en-Provence, c. 1442 – 1443)
British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
Chapter CVIII: The arms of Louis de France, Dauphin du Viennois (the County of Vienne)
Close to this shield, a little higher and to the right, was another quartered shield; that is to say, the left-hand quarter above, as viewed, showed three fleurs-de-lys on an azure field, while the right-hand showed a blue dolphin on a gold ground; the like quarters were reversed right to left below. Beneath this shield was written in embellished and capitalised gold lettering the verse which follows:
‘The seventh Charles, Charles the Fifth’s grandson,
Was my father, and a most royal one.
Dauphin du Viennois, Louis am I;
Proud and fierce in war, and in love not shy,
Though courteous ever, while ever seeking
Fair ladies and maids consent to loving;
For I was ever a slave to the god of Love,
And his true man, right loyal I did prove,
And from his company did ne’er remove,
Swearing an oath all princes would approve.
As witness I set my shield here, on high,
Revealing my allegiance to the eye.’
Chapter CIX: The coat of arms of Charles d’Anjou, Comte de Maine
Touching the aforesaid shield, was a shield set among thistles, whose spiky leaves were most attractively gilded and embellished, the flower-heads were in gold, the leaves in green. The shield bore three golden fleurs-de-lys on an azure field bordered in red, and at the top left of this border was a young lion, in silver, rampant; beneath the shield was found the verse that follows:
‘Charles of Anjou am I, that humble prove,
By offering myself to the god of Love,
Gifting him my person, his vassal true,
As one that has served him my whole life through,
Receiving from him many a fair reward.
Enclosed in thistles, my shield does afford
Remembrance of how Love wounds the lover,
Piercing the hearts of those who trust him ever,
Since, thus, was I wounded in love’s fair field,
Enough to paint these thistles on my shield,
And sail to this Hospital, and set it here,
Gently, amidst the others that appear.’
Chapter CX: The arms of Gaston de Foix
After this shield, set among thistles as you have been made aware, but lower down, was found another truly magnificent one, around which broken and shattered chariot wheels were depicted, and between the wheels little scrolls were inserted on which was written ‘To Remake’. This shield comprised the arms of Foix and of Aragon; the upper right quarter, as viewed, showing two cows in red on a gold ground, the left quarter three red vertical stripes on a like field of gold, and beneath the coat-of-arms was set the following verse:
‘Gaston de Foix, am I, in humility
Come here that Love may not vilify me,
I that have proved myself on many a field,
Equal to all, and never thought to yield,
Such that none an ill reproach might offer.
And yet though I’ve led many a soldier,
Love’s arrow pierced me, and brought me woe,
So that to Love’s Hospital I must go,
As one who had served Love with his whole heart,
Unconquered in arms, vanquished by his dart.
Thus, I came here, humbly, to set on high
My blazon, for tis Love leads men, say I.’
Chapter CXI: The blazon of Louis de Luxembourg (a vassal of René’s)
Next to this blazon was another, a lion gules with forked tail, rampant on a field of silver, crossed saltirewise, with claws, teeth and crown in gold, and with azure tongue, surround by little tufts in blue and black. Beneath this shield was written the verse presented here:
‘Louis de Luxembourg, thus was I called:
Love seized me, and with blows my body galled,
Piercing me with darts fiercer than any
I have let fly in many a great tourney,
Where I shattered many a lance and shield,
And many a helm, on many a brave field.
I served Love so long, I thought myself free,
Yet journeyed here, in the end, as you see,
To this Hospital, bearing, day and night,
This fair shield of mine, as was only right,
To set it here, at the Love-god’s behest;
And if tardily, then his pardon I request.’
Chapter CXII: The coat-of-arms of Louis, seigneur de Beauvau (a vassal of René’s)
Set alone and apart from the other blazons, seemingly in a more obscure place than the others, I found a fair and noble and richly-wrought coat-of-arms, quartered with the arms of Beauvau and Craon: those of Beauvau showing four lions rampant gules on a field argent; those of Craon rows of lozenges in alternating red and gold, The panel to which this shield was affixed was framed by four hooked crossbows, linked to one another, and beside it was written, in large letters of gold and azure, magnificently wrought: ‘Never Quitting’. Beneath the blazon was written, in well-formed blackletter-script (Bastarda), the following:
‘Louis of Beauvau, the loyal,
I, of Provençe the seneschal,
Who in loving did e’er advance,
Seeking sweet love at every chance,
Promising the ladies ever
To be faithless to them never,
Swearing by my conscience further,
That I was loyal by nature,
Though thinking it not, for I know
That ever-changeable they go,
Nonetheless, set my blazon here,
And in good time, thus, I appear.’
The end of Part V of ‘Le Livre du Coeur d’Amour Épris’