Poetry Courtly Love poets demonstrated their love with acts of great sacrifice

Taking a look at the Poetry Courtly Love of Boccaccio in "Decameron" and that of Benart de Ventardon, in "When I See the Lark that Moves" (probably his most well known) we can observe how Poetry Courtly Love poets employed Andreas Capellanus' rules in composition.

Bernart de Ventadorn at the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine, was an outstanding courtly love troubadour. Here is the second stanza of "When I See the Lark That Moves."

Alas! how much I knew of love,

I thought, but so little know of it!

For now I cannot check my love

For her, who'll give me little profit.

She has my heart and all of me,

Herself and all the world; and nothing

Leaves to me, when thus she takes me,

Except desire and heartfelt longing.

How the Rules of Courtly Love Apply to "When I See the Lark That Moves":-

The lover cannot control his loving "I cannot check my love"

His lady is in control of lover "she has my heart and all of me"

His lady is cold, cruel and ungenerous "and nothing/ Leaves to me"

The lover suffers endless desire without consummation "except desire and heartfelt longing"

If you would like to read more of the poetry of Benart de Ventadorn and others, click on the link below:

Click Here For Arnaut Daniel Sample1

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Click Here For Arnaut Daniel Sample4

Click Here For Bernart de Ventadorn Poetry

The story of Decameron is taken from the ninth tale of the fifth day as follows:-

Frederigo, a young gentleman, falls in love with Monna Giovanna, a beautiful, charming, married Florentine lady.

Frederigo spent all his money on tournaments,jousting, hosting feasts and other extravagances, to win Monna Giovanna's love."

She did not care for him or his spendthrift ways.He lost his wealth, retaining only one little farm and one falcon, "among the best in the world."

Monna's husband died and she and her son went to live for a year in the country near Frederigo's farm. The son became friendly with Frederigo and loved his falcon.

The son fell very ill and asked his mother to get Frederigo's falcon for him, which he thought would surely make him get well. She hated to ask Frederigo for his last dear possession, but fear for her son's health led her to do it.

She visits Frederigo's farm and tells him "'I have come to compensate you for the harm you have suffered on my account by loving me more than you needed to; and the compensation is this: I, along with this companion of mine, intend to dine with you--a simple meal--this very day.'" (Taken from Norton Anthology: World Masterpieces, expanded edition, V.1: 1890)

He is super-courteous, and invites her to wait in the garden while he sets the table. There is no food in his house, so he kills the falcon to make a meal.

They eat and then she explains about her sick son and requests the falcon. Frederigo weeps and gives a super-courteous speech and shows her the falcon's beak and feathers and feet. She praised his gracious spirit but reproached his killing the falcon for her meal. She went home; her son died a few days later.

Eventually, her brothers wanted her to remarry, since she was young and rich; she said she would only marry Frederigo, which she did, and he was more prudent after that.

This story illustrates how Poetry Courtly Love utilised the following rules from The Art of Courtly Love:-

Rule 1: Marriage is no real excuse for not loving

Rule 10: Love is always a stranger in the home of avarice

Rule 14: The easy attainment of love makes it of little value; difficulty of attainment makes it prized

Rule 24: Every act of a lover ends in the thought of his beloved

Rule 25: A true lover considers nothing good except what he thinks will please his beloved

Rule 26: Love can deny nothing to love

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