English Text of 'The Complaint of Art'
1. Mylady Vehemence led me by her rein unto a forest where i encountered many
wild growing flowers; nearby, beneath a green-leafed tree, also a cool spring murmured,
driving a mill work there by its very current force.
2. This spring so crystal-clear sprang from a well-kept green, itself being skirted and adorned
by a richly growing meadow, never have i heard about a place that might be praised more aptly,
the bloom of may had sprinkled lavishly with roses and flowers the green grass.
3. An awning all over it was spread, throwing delightful shade.
White blossoms could be seen, smiling from jade-green shrubs, -something not to be seen in winter,
when the gust blows icy-cold-, and many noble birds there stayed chirping the sweetest songs.
4. Now hear ye of what befell me at this cool, clear spring, the gentle brook of which may well be grinding corn this day.
the splendid awning covered its surtout and underneath a throne was raised that could be seen from far beyond the meadow.
5. Upon it sat, a noble dame of dignified mien and rich apparel; she's said to have more wits about her than any woman on this earth.
and she possessed, believe ye me all of the beauty of this world, and yet she shone with purest virtue.
nothing but goodness may the Lord grant her.
6. It's said that He Himself has sent her from His heavenly throne, that in his honor joy may rule throughout the world,
Her name embossed was written on her crown; Mylady Justice she was called, as i could read myself.
7. Mylady Truth permits me not to lie, therefore may be sure of it; Her crown and equally her brilliant gown, so richly adorned they were,
that, since the world has been, in no kingdom far and wide any soul ever has possessed attire of such splendor.
8. And with her were full many dames, all sporting stately crowns, and all, as i perceived full well, were wrought with utmost care.
Their names i'll tell you, too, for they were artfully engraved in each such crown.
9. There was Mylady Mercy, free of deceitfulness she is, and well-attired lady Loyalty,
with shining Constancy right by her side; i noted, too, Mylady Modesty wearing a beauteous gown-,
all four of them were preciously adorned, wore jewelry of quite outstanding worth.
10. There also reclined Mylady Kindness, who knoweth no wrath, her crown ablaze with precious stones.
with her Honor i found and Generosity, adorned with wondrous many things.
I blinked my eyes at these three noble ladies-, they blossomed like so many roses
that in bleak moorland smile enticingly.
11. There also sat Mylady Bashfulness, true soul and free of blame, whose artlessness is said to shine beyound all virtues.
And Lady Moderation there conversed with Lady temperance, the one so pure, the other wise,
with tender eagerness they held meek chastity pressed closely to their hearts.
12. And there withal were sitting free of sin with the good Queen Mylady Truth with her high council, and blameless courtly Love.
and she who bears the name of noble virtue was seated there in matchless splendor -
except for Art whose gown was tattered and torn completely.
13. I know not whether her lot has improved meanwhile; but then it was of velvet green as grass and sadly torn all over from great age -
that was her dress in those days long ago.
So worn it was withal that its hemline was quite transparent as thought was made of glass.
14. And thin she was like a stick with all her suffering and pain -, with her sharp strokes had Penury hit Art and wounded her severely.
most wretchedly she then approached the goodly Queen with well considered words:
15. Most aptly chosen queen, justice i'm looking for, your virtuous honor will attempt
to change my lot which is unbearable.
Grant me to tell the tale of my great woe and terrible mishap -, false Generosity to wit ruined my life most certainly.
16. Meanwhile i smell like dung, exude a stench acrid as bile, at court she hosts me most ungraciously and talks about me acrimoniously,
the woman Generosity, who by neglect punishes many a beauteous artistry,
whilst yet the artless,one and all, she doth enrich without delay.
17. She treats true artists with distain, who however can no talent show, she presses hard with favors.
She therefore only doth receive mere ephemeral gifts of little worth, while i in rags must go
and bear great sorrow and distress.
18. Thus this false generosity leads me into great trouble and hightens my complaints, wherever i do turn.
I'm seeking justice now with you, Mylady, who doth bear the name most aptly -
that you wipe out this pain for honors sake of all those ladies fair.
19. Then Justice spoke; such be the case -, answer, false Generosity, as Art who i won't chide
seems cumbersome to you, i'll make you pay without delay for all the ill that you have harmed her with.
Now Generosity arose with much distress and spoke these words;
20. Blameless i am entirely of all that you accuse me of, Mylady, i'll swear this on God's alter.
Nothing that's good i do deny to Art.
Quite on the contrary; whatever little she produces i still do take in willingly and pay as much i can bear.
21. Truly, Mylady, that she never did, blameless Art to this replied.
It has been long since she seemed pleased with my luxurious splendor, these days she lets princes, knights and bondsmen scorn me much -
and if i charge her now, will i get justice, too?
22. You will indeed,-in noble unison all Virtues then replied.
Step forward, Lady Truth, and you as well, Mylady Constance, and show withal that Generosity must bear
the blame for having closed on me the gate which shut me out from luck.
24. Whoever praises matters of no import, she does reward most liberally; her chests are filled with junk, in which she takes delight.
and like an empress she resides, though hanged with tripe -, but that's the very death of Art,
for Generosity owns not a thing that's made of noble matter.
25. Quoth Justice then; if Generosity got used to all the junk that's brought into her palace and for which she pays
and then selects and shows with pride -, let me ask you, my Modesty, how you account in this same matter.
If you could pass well chosen sentence, you'd liberate me of great worry now.
26. I mean to say, replied the lady then, whoever pays and honors his retainers without demanding something in return,
he should then suffer the neglect of noble Love and all the other dames, so that he never shall be happy when seeking pleasure in their company.
27. That was the sentence passed by lady Modesty.
And all the others quite agreed without delay and willingly; the punishment and damage shall be great for Lady Generosity,
all cried in disarray and urged Mylady Justice.
28. As she wants not to carry out in a just manner her high office, her servants forced to live in shame and quite devoid of pleasure -,
Endless misfortune will follow Art into untimely death.
29. Mylady Bashfulness will then have to desert her altogether, so that she isn't conscious of her shame and feels quite free from vice.
Mylady Honor has to rob her of all fame and of all praise which once was brought to bear on her -
She will have to endure this curse for evermore.
30. Hold now, the Lady Justice called: my courtly and wise companions, whoever does not love true art and yet bears the name of Generosity,
should live in great misfortune, if only for her gross stupidity.
31. And all of you should keep the memory of what today and in your presence I pass as sentence in this case;
Whoever values not true art, he be loathe unto you, he shall not know or love or joy, and all folks shall be hostile unto him -,
By way of Konrad, whom is present here, i do impart this sentence to the world.
32. Thus I returned on this my way in order to relate my story at the request of her who in that place asked me to inform the wealthy lords
about the arduous fate of high-minded Arts.
That is to say -, who maltreats Art will have no joy in his entire life…