The lines have an unknown origin and author. Despite being associated with a musical composition written by Guillaume Du Fay, it’s unclear whether or not he also wrote the lyrics. The song is not one of his better-known compositions, but various contemporary recordings are available.
Pour l'amour de ma doulce amye Pour l'amour de ma doulce amye Ce rondelet voudray chanter, Et de bon cuer luy presenter Affin qu'elle en soit plus jolye. Car je l'ay sur toutes choysie A mon plaisir sans mal penser: Pour [l'amour de ma doulce amye Ce rondelet voudray chanter.] Elle est belle, plaisant et lye, Saige en maintieng et en parler: Se la veul servir et amer A mon povoir toute ma vie. Pour l'amour [de ma doulce amye Ce rondelet voudray chanter, Et de bon cuer luy presenter Affin qu'elle en soit plus jolye.]
Explore Pour l'amour de ma doulce amye
‘Pour l’amour de ma doulce amye’ by Guillaume Du Fay is a 15th-century lyric that is dedicated to a beautiful woman.
The lyric uses a refrain in the first and last stanzas, repeating how the speaker, also the writer, created these stanzas in order to bring the woman he loves joy. In the middle two stanzas, he declares his intentions to do whatever he can to make her happy throughout their life together. He also praises her beauty and wisdom.
You can read the English translation of this poem by David Wyatt here.
The poet engages with the theme of love in this short lyric. The lines are very direct and to the point. The speaker expresses his love and dedication, as well as how he plans to spend the rest of his life devoted to making the woman he loves happy. The lines do not contain anything, from syntax to figurative language, that complicates this interpretation.
Structure and Form
‘Pour l’amour de ma doulce amye’ by Guillaume Du Fay is a four-stanza lyric that is divided into sets of four lines, known as quatrains. These quatrains were originally written in French, but there are a few different English-language translations available.
The lines are also visually very similar. They are all around six words long, creating very homogenous-looking stanzas that are well-suited to music.
Throughout ‘Pour l’amour de ma doulce amye,’ the poet made use of several literary devices. These include but are not limited to:
- Refrain: the repetition of an entire line or stanza within a poem or song. For example, in this lyric, the writer repeated the first quatrain at the end, word for word. This brings the song full circle and gives it the musical, repetitive quality that listeners would expect from 15th-century songwriting.
- Repetition: in general, the writer used repetition in this song. For example, repeating his words of praise to his lover. He calls her “sweet,” “wise,” and “pleasing,” according to the Wyatt translation,
Pour l’amour de ma doulce amye
Ce rondelet voudray chanter,
Et de bon cuer luy presenter
Affin qu’elle en soit plus jolye.
The original song begins by describing how the singer, or poet, wanted to compose the lines that follow in order to bring his lover some amount of joy. He was hoping that this “song” would make her more joyful or fill her with joy. Or, “Affin qu’elle en soit plus jolye.”
The English translation, as completed by David Wyatt, describes the song as a “present.” It is a gift in and of itself that, upon hearing, should make the woman happier.
These first four lines appear again at the end of the poem, creating a great example of a refrain and adding to the musical quality of these lyrics.
Car je l’ay sur toutes choysie
A mon plaisir sans mal penser:
Pour [l’amour de ma doulce amye
Ce rondelet voudray chanter.]
The speaker declares his love for an unnamed lady in the second stanza. The translator used an example of anaphora in his English translation. The first three lines begin with “For,” a technique that’s not mirrored in the French original.
He declares that he has chosen her, “above all others.” This suggests there are other women who might love the speaker or who the speaker could have a decent relationship with. But, he knows that the woman for whom he composed the song is the right person for him. The simple language and clarity of tone solidify the speaker’s determination to make this woman happy no matter what he has to do.
The speaker tells the listener and the woman he loves that while he wrote the song to bring his love joy, it also brings him an amount of “pleasure,” and he is writing it without “bad intent,” as Wyatt translated from the original French.
The speaker acknowledges in the last line of the stanza that the lyrics were always meant to belong to a song, not simply as part of a poem or other standalone text. As noted above, these lyrics are commonly associated with a composition by Guillaume Du Fay.
Elle est belle, plaisant et lye,
Saige en maintieng et en parler:
Se la veul servir et amer
A mon povoir toute ma vie.
In the third stanza, the poet/composer praises the woman he loves with a few different compliments. He describes how beautiful she is and how distinguished looking. She carries herself in a way that increases her overall appeal to him. He also notes that her “talk” is appealing to him. This suggests that he finds her engaging to talk to, not just look out.
He’s implying a love that is broader than simply a physical attraction. In fact, the speaker declares he wants to spend the rest of his life loving her and doing whatever he needs to do to please her.
The speaker seems to allude to the fact that he knows he does not have as much to offer as some men. But, his dedication makes up for it. He’s going to do everything you can, to the best of his ability (or whatever is in his power to do), to make her happy for the rest of his life.
Pour l’amour [de ma doulce amye
Ce rondelet voudray chanter,
Et de bon cuer luy presenter
Affin qu’elle en soit plus jolye.]
The fourth stanza concludes this short lyric by repeating the first stanza. The same lines, word for word, are used here as in the previous quatrain. This is a common feature in both poetry and musical lyric writing and is known as a refrain. The speaker does not have complex intentions in the composition or declaration of the lines of this lyric. He has a simple and widely relatable message that could apply to innumerable relationships throughout time.
It is the near universality of the message that has made this lyric, accompanied by a well-loved musical composition, so popular throughout time.
The message is that a specific speaker, a male writer, is going to spend his life dedicating everything he does to making the woman he loves happy. The lyrics of the song are only one of the many things he hopes to do to bring her joy.
It’s unclear who the author of these lyrics is. Often, these lyrics are associated with Guillaume Du Fay’s musical composition created in the 1400s. But, resources are unclear whether he is also responsible for writing the lyrical verses.
The speaker is a writer, more than likely a man, and someone who is in love with a beautiful, wise woman. He suggests in the four quatrains that he’s entirely dedicated to her. Besides these context clues, it’s unknown who the speaker of this lyric is.
Guillaume Du Fay was known for his church and secular music. He was born in Brussels around 1397 and passed away in 1474 in France. His music is part of the Franco-Netherlandish school of music but is also sometimes categorized in the Burgundian school.
Guillaume Du Fay was influenced by composers and writers of his day. Du Fay’s style was inspired by English writers, including the music of John Dunstable. He wrote on themes like love and religion.
Readers who enjoyed this song should also consider reading some related poems. For example:
- ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’ by John Keats – is a story of unrequited love, illness, and the impossibility of being with whom one cares for when they are from different social classes.
- ‘A Red, Red Rose’ by Robert Burns – is a poem that is in the ballad formation of four-line stanzas with ABBA rhyme schemes.
- ‘The Passionate Shepherd to His Love’ by Christopher Marlowe – describes the life that a shepherd wishes to create for his lover.