Sunday, February 14, 2010

Courtly Love

I could not resist turning my thoughts to love, on this, the day set aside in popular culture to celebrate love and lovers. On my overloaded bookshelves is a small book, titled, The Book of Courtly Love: The Passionate Code of the Troubadours, written by Andrea Hopkins. Through the classic tales of the troubadours and other literary and artistic works, the author brings us into the courts of the Middle Ages, the time of star-crossed lovers. Even from ancient Rome, we have evidence of literature that celebrated the joy and pain of love. Ballads of wandering minstrels, singing their poems as they go from court to court, have come to us through the ages. Not to be overlooked are the courtly ladies, known as troubaritz, who also composed courtly songs of love.
From my little book, I have selected ten “rules of love”, taken from a longer list found in the writings of Andreas Capellanus, a twelfth century author who wrote a treatise on love. Ms. Hopkins quoted these rules in the Introduction to her book.

1. The state of marriage does not properly excuse anyone from loving.
2. He who does not feel jealousy is not capable of loving.
3. A mourning period of two years for a deceased lover is required of the surviving partner.
4. No one should be prevented from loving except by reason of his own death.
5. It is unseemly to love anyone whom you would be ashamed to marry.
6. Love that is made public rarely lasts.
7. Love easily obtained is of little value; difficulty in obtaining it makes it precious.
8. Every lover regularly turns pale in the presence of his beloved.
9. On suddenly catching sight of his beloved, the heart of the lover beings to palpitate.
10.A man tormented by the thought of love eats and sleeps very little.

The Book of Courtly Love, besides for being an investigation of love in the Middle Ages, has much to recommend it. The illustrations document clothing and leisure time activities, even showing a marriage bed, and on another page, two lovers playing a game of chess. The book is rich with historical detail, and I heartily recommend it for your bookshelves.


Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

Lol, it sounds like something in a romance novel! And yes, Joyce, it should be true to today's standards!

I've seen where men have jumped into a marriage only a few months after their wife is cold in the grave.

I remember reading about one English king who cherished his wife so much, he couldn't marry for years. Then finally he found another woman to love, and I was glad he'd found her since he'd been so devoted to his first wife.

In another instance, the king's wife was so sick at the end, one of her ladies-in-waiting sneaked around to "comfort" the king. Except she was sneaking around with lots of other men also and when he married her after his wife's death, he discovered the new wife had given him an awful disease. It made him regret his decision to be with the new wife and all the more cherish the memory he had of his 1st wife, who had been nothing but good to him while she lived.

Mary Ricksen said...

Ah, love, how wonderful!

Nadine said...

Hi Joyce, I stumbled upon your blog through the comment you posted on Elizabeth Chadwick's blog, and I just wanted to let you know that I added your book "Jeanne of Clairmonde" to my TBR list. I'm always on the hunt for a fantastic historical novel and I'm looking forward to reading yours!

Joyce Moore said...

Terry: I browsed your website. Awesome book covers. I think I'll have to read Legend of the White Wolf, first, because I love wolves, and secondly, because it got great reviews.

Joyce Moore said...

Hi Mary: Thanks for stopping by! I see your book, Tripping Through Time, got a great review. Yeah! Hope you're busy writing another.

Joyce Moore said...

Hi Nadine: Oh m'gosh, your chihuahuas are adorable. I'm a dog lover. In fact, had to put a dog in Jeanne of Clairmonde. Hmm, there's one in my October book too, come to think of it. Heck, every good book needs a good dog. Thanks for stopping by.