Thursday, January 26, 2006


When I was growing up, my mother kept a a quote-box. A number of them, actually. She divided her quotes as she needed them--"Man's Estate, God and Man, Men and Women," etc.--but she read widely and stocked her quote box with all of the authors who had fashioned a few sentences that had made her think.

She passed that tradition on. I kept an index box, for a while. The following three posts are, in some way, tribute to her.


Blogger John Emerson:

Well, le devis (second base) means "desire, will, decision" but can also mean "beauty, order". Godefroy, Lexique de l'Ancien Francaise.

La devise might be "conversation", as in the translation, but there's no reason to go that way.

Marot was a fun sort of mix, a funny smutty poet, a Protestant, and an early presctiptive grammarian.

1/27/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

For those who don't follow the hundred-fold comments at Unfogged, here is what Emerson is responding to:

"Fleur de quinze ans (si Dieu vous saulve et gard),
J'ay en amous trouve cinq pointz expres:
Premierement, il y a le regard,
Puis le devis, et le baiser apres.
L'Attouchement le baiser suit de pres;
Et tous ceux-la tendent au dernier point
Qui est... Et quoi? Je ne le diray point.
Mais s'il vous plaist en ma chambre vous rendre
Je me metrray voulontiers en pourpoint,
Voyre tout nud, pour le vous faire apprendre."
(Clement Marot, Les Cinq Points d'Amour)

John, my limited experience in Early Modern semantics is that the meanings that take different spellings in later dictionaries were present then as puns. So I'm not at all ruling out the possibility that to Marot, "le devis" could have meant a conversation with intention, and a decision to be made about desire somewhere in it.

I am glad you enjoyed this one; as I went through the quote-box, it leapt out as for John Emerson. I know you won't be shocked to hear that I first read this sonnet at around 15-16 years old, thought it very sweet and a little sly, and wrote it out on an index card to put it in my Mormon-mother-provided quote-box. I didn't really think much about deflowering 15 year-olds, or maybe I just assumed that 15 year-olds back then were living in a very different world than I was.

(Oh my heavens, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to pass the Turing test on my own damned blog. Here goes...Yep, take two.)

1/29/2006 09:46:00 PM  

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