Gautier de Coincy c.1177-1236. Mircales of Notre-Dame Manuscript: Amours, qui bien ses enchanter
De Coiny is one of the earliest religious people who wrote vernacular songs on religious subjects. Les Miracles de Notre-Dame manuscript contains verses and music about the Virgin Mary that have survived in over 80 manuscrits.
This remarkable version of "Amours, qui bien ses enchanter" by the New London Consort, dir. Philipp Pickett, is my favorite interpretation.
CD : « Songs of Angels » - Songs of ecstasy by Gautier de Coincy, New London Consort, dir. Philip Pickett
Translation of lyrics:
Love, who well knowest how to enchant, thou dost cause many to sing such a song as makes souls stray. I will no more sing such a song, but I sing a new song for her of whom the angels sing.
Sing of her, all you singers, thus shall you cast a spell over the enchanter (the Devil) who often bewitches us. If you sing of the Mother of God,every caster of spells shall be captivated; he who sings of her was born to good fortune.
He who would have her fair grace must present himself with modesty, for she is so wise and gracious that no man may draw near to her but he must needs cast off all that the Enemy holds dear.
Never will any man draw near to her before casting off for her sake all ties. Cast them off for love of her; never shall any man be truly devoted if he is not her devotee.
Mother of God, thou art so much to be prized that no tongue, however well taught it be, can estimate thy worth. Each man prizes thee, I prize thee; thou art the rose, the flower of worth that has taken on precious flesh.
Precious flesh took shape in thy womb, by whom was overcome that ambusher who would attack us all. But he who sets himself to serve thee is not caught in his ambush: it is well to take refuge in thee.
Lady in whom all comfort dwells, I am enfeebled by my sins; but this gives me strength, that no man is so enfeebled that he may not soon be strengthened by thee thy strength gives strength to all.
Lady, how great, Lady, how strong is thy succcour and thy comfort! Many a soul hast thou comforted. Comfort me, great strength thou hast: thou didst bring comfort to the Egyptian woman who was without comfort.
Sweet Lady, whoever serves thee well deserves thereby the love of thy dear Son; it is indeed right that men should serve thee. All those who shall serve thee well shall merit joy without end: God grant I too may merit it!
Alas, never did I merit any reward, for I have served God so little that my soul has merited death. Lady, now teach me so to serve that I may merit that joy, there where thou art served by angels.
Sweet Lady, without end must men serve thee nobly; thou art like gold refined. Thine own thou refinest as pure gold, and so thou givest them at the end joy which shall have no end.
Finally, to Him I pray Who was willing to die for us on the Cross, Who is the beginning and end of all. May He Who is beginning and end make us all in the end so pure that we may have joy unalloyed.