Le Champion des Dames

Martin Le Franc. Circa 1488.

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The Ladies’ Champion. Illustrations from a long, allegorical poem defending women’s honor.

The Champion

17 “If it please God, I want to display How in all earthly governing, Woman has had just as much sway As man, her merit nobly showing, And that she can in terms glowing Boast as much or more than he.”

Slow Wit (Badmouth’s representative)

38 “I hold that Satan the foul, always Eager for mankind’s punishment, Who will reprieves or delays For gold or silver not consent, Was most desirous and diligent To in such women’s flesh take guise And show himself intelligent By making men idolatrize.”

42 “Granted that women did discover— As you have said—all these things. I answer that they did uncover The door to frauds and other swindlings. From them come bitter differings, Envies, murders, robberies, Gluttonies, pride, tricky fleecings, Betrayals, and lying flatteries.”

The Champion

661 “Alas, they [women] scarcely get leave [to perform good works], instead, For they are governed by men’s hand And on a leash by them are led, So if they really wished or planned To give alms or donations grand, Their greedy husbands would take it ill. Doesn’t their marriage nicely stand? They do nothing of what they will.

662 “Thus we men have not temperance, Justice, prudence, or amity, Fortitude, hope, or continence, Charity, or sobriety, Patience in adversity As much as they are found in women; If one declines these nouns correctly, Every virtue’s feminine.”

From Martin Le Franc. The Trial of Womankind: A Rhyming Translation of Book IV of the Fifteenth-Century Le Champion Des Dames. Edited and translated by Steven Millen Taylor. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 2005. pp. 19, 24–25, and 168–169.

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Metadata Details
Item Type Book
Title Le Champion des Dames
Short Title Le Champion des Dames, 1488
Place of Publication [Lyon]
Creator Martin Le Franc
Publication Date Circa 1488
Number of Pages folios 4 verso, 5 recto, 132 verso, and 133 recto
Language Middle French
Call Number folio Inc. 8695
Location Special Collections 4th floor