Sunday, February 25, 2007

Charny's Questions on War, #86: Chivalric fantasy

86. Charny asks:

There are two cities which are at war with each other and in each there is a garrison of a hundred men at arms, all good companions and skilled men. And near these two cities is a good city that is not at war, but which has in it as many handsome and lively damsels as in any city one knows. So it happens that each of the men at arms in the two cities for their virtues has a ladylove who pleases him in this good city and it seems to each of them that his ladylove is the best and most beautiful of them all. So it happens that that the ladyloves of the companions in one of the two cities send letters to them and make it known that they should come the next day to them to amuse them and dance and lead a good life. And the companions get up early in the morning and wish to take part in the great joy, celebration and welcome which is made for them. It is hardly necessary to speak of how each one in her own right jokes, talks, sings, and dances all day and all night so very honorably as ladies ought to know how to for those who are their friends. And when the morning comes the companions wish to arm for their departure, but the ladies do not permit any to give them a hand in arming except themselves, and each of them helps the one she loves best. And at their departure each lady has kissed her own friend and given him a ring or other jewel and they beg them to fight well for the love of them. And the men give their oath by St. John and then go. So it happens that the ladies and ladyloves of the other companions know of the good time which the others have had; so they each wrote in their own hand a letter to their friends telling them that they should come to them and they will enjoy such a good time that they will leave them well content and that the ladies are well prepared to put on such a good time as was ever done. The companions of the other city mount up, completely armed, happy and in great joy to go to their ladies, because of the good news they have just received. So they go into the field and when they come to the city they see the companions who are coming from their ladies. So they ride against each other to fight. Of which party would you prefer to be, as having a better will to fight well?

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