Poetry Courtly Love is defined in a set of rules found in 12th century French poetry.





The Rules of Poetry Courtly Love

Under the benign influence of the so-called Court of Love fostered by Eleanor of Acquitaine at Poitiers France, where she was the Queen, a code of courtly love was conceived by Andreas Capellanus also known as Andrew the Chaplain.This code helped to define the features of poetry courtly love.

He was a cleric at the court who wrote "The Art of Courtly Love," a formal code describing the "rules" of courtly love, supposedly written for Countess Marie. (To whom we have aready been introduced as a fellow promoter of the court of love along with her mother Queen Eleanor, and also to whom Chr├ętien de Troyes dedicated the seminal "Knight of the Cart," the romance in which the love of Lancelot for Guenevere was first introduced in literature)

This treatise was meant to instruct people in the proper behavior of lovers as part of Marie's attempts to civilize Poitiers. It was derived from Ovid's Art of Loving which I referred to earlier, but with certain amendments:-

a) Ovid presented the man as the master who seduces women for his pleasure.

b) Art of Courtly Love presented woman as mistress and the man is her vassal who serves her.

This work has since been interpreted to be a satire, and it certainly contained a lot of irony and sarcasm. However it was hugely popular and this is evidenced by the volume of translations/manuscripts that have survived till today. I have included some of its principles to allow you draw your own conclusions!

How love is defined in The Art of Courtly Love

"Love is a certain inborn suffering derived from the sight of and excessive meditation upon the beauty of the opposite sex, which causes each one to wish above all things the embraces of the other and by common desire to carry out all of love's precepts in the other's embrace."

The effect of love as defined in The Art of Courtly Love

" O what a wonderful thing is love, which makes a man shine with so many virtues and teaches everyone, no matter who he is, so many good traits of character!"

Who may love according to The Art of Courtly Love

"Everyone of sound mind who is capable of doing the work of Venus may be wounded by one of love's arrows unless prevented by age, or blindness, or excess of passion."

How Love May be Retained

keep it secret

be wise and restrained in conduct

be generous and charitable

be humble, not proud

offer service to all ladies

do what is pleasing to your loved one

associate with good men; avoid the wicked

jealousy increases love

How Love Decreases

too much exposure to the beloved

too much privacy for love

uncouth behavior

sudden loss of property( not much has changed since the 12th century!)

blasphemy and anti-religious behavior

How Love Ends

if one of the lovers breaks faith

if one of the lovers strays from the Catholic religion

The First Five Rules of Love According to Andrew

1 Marriage is no real excuse for not loving

2 He who is not jealous cannot love

3 No one can be bound by a double love

4 It is well known that love is always increasing or decreasing

5 That which a lover takes against his will of his beloved has no relish

(There are a total of 31 "rules." But I believe these 5 are enough to give you a general idea!)

There are quite a few poetic examples illustrating how these so called rules of love were employed by the poetry of the genre. I have included a selection:- Click Here for examples of Poetry Courtly Love

I have also included for your reading pleasure even more examples of Poetry Courtly Love, which are available by clicking on the link below

Click Here for more examples of Poetry Courtly Love

Click Here for Poetry Courtly Love conventions

Click Here for Poetry Courtly Love troubadours

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