Ballades and Rondeaux of Charles d’Orléans

Orléans, Charles de (1394–1465), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

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Charles D’Orléans (1394-1465) became Duke of Orléans in 1407, after the assassination of his father. His grandfather was Charles V of France, his uncle Charles VI. Charles himself was captured at the battle of Agincourt in 1415, at the age of twenty, and spent twenty-five years confined in England, ransom being denied him on the instructions of Henry V, due to his political importance. His ballades and rondeaux in French, are some of the finest and most delightful lyric works of the later medieval period, and herald the formal elegance and individual style of the Renaissance.

He was eventually released in 1440, supposedly ‘speaking better English than French,’ and on his return to France married, at the age of 46, his third wife, the fourteen-year-old Marie of Cleves, their son later becoming Louis XII of France. Though Charles also wrote a number of less-distinguished poems in English, during and after his imprisonment, it is the poems in his native tongue that entitle him to rank among the great lyricists. This translation presents one hundred selected ballades and rondeaux.

Author Details

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Kline, A. S.

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