Chapter 33
Marie of France
Marie of France, the medieval poet is also known as Marie Countess
of Champagne 1145 –1198…. as her married name. She was the elder
daughter of Louis VII of France by his first wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Scholars today think that Marie of France, the poet, is another
individual completely. This view is held simply because they believe she
lived in England because she wrote at an undisclosed court and mentions
places in England i.e. a Celtic backdrop. It is quite ludicrous to think this
when the evidence is exposed; and like Henry Blois, she has half hidden her
identity.
Scholars like Judith. P. Shoaf seems to think Marie of France was an
English nun. When I explained my reason for thinking Marie of France
might be the same as Marie of Champagne, I was informed by this breed of
of modern scholar that no ‘amateur proves conventional scholars wrong’
and me deigning to put forward a theory was akin ‘to telling the Pope the
sun doesn't rise in the East’.
So let us see what conventional wisdom in the form of Shoaf the expert has
to offer in her translators note:
Firstly she states: We know nothing about Marie de France. For various
reasons, it's thought that her twelve Lais date from around 1170, that their
author was a woman named Marie.
Shoaf then goes on to tell us: She may have been an aristocratic woman,
her French is "easy" (a widely-read Anglo-Norman literary language) and the
poems are relatively short (the longest is only about a sixth as long as the
verse romances being written at the same time by Chrétien de Troyes);
readers usually seem to have read them in French.
Shoaf then goes on to inform us: Marie's language is Anglo-Norman, the
dialect spoken among the aristocracy of England and large parts of
Northern France; she was part of a generation of writers (notable among
them Chretien de Troyes) who were in the process of inventing the French
verse romance. Marie uses an "historical present" tense often, switching from
past to present and back again in a way that is much commoner in French
than in English.
Yet with all that said above and a name of Marie of France to boot; Shoaf
thinks that our poet is perhaps a nun, living in England.
When about 25 years old c.1164-5…. when she was married to the
eldest of Henry Blois’ nephews by his brother Theobald, Marie of France
was involved in writing poems which are directly related to Arthuriana,
some of the ideas of which came by way of her husbands Uncle at the same
time Chrétien’s work was composed . Marie’s work mainly embodies love
and lust from a female perspective in the chivalric era when the work of
Wace became popular in France.
Her work was known at the Royal court of King Henry II mainly
because Marie’s mother was Eleanor of Aquitaine King Henry II wife and
she writes: In your honour, most noble and courteous King, to whom joy is a
handmaid, and in whose heart all gracious things are rooted, I have brought
together these Lays, and told my tales in seemly rhyme. Ere they speak for me,
let me speak with my own mouth, and say, "Sire, I offer you these verses. If
you are pleased to receive them, the fairer happiness will be mine, and the
more lightly I shall go all the days of my life. Do not deem that I think more
highly of myself than I ought to think, since I presume to proffer this, my gift."
Hearken now to the commencement of the matter.
Scholars have dated Marie's works to between about 1160 and 1215. It is
probable that the Lais started to be written c.1165 after Marie got married.
As we can see by the preamble above one is dedicated to a "noble King" who
presumably is her step father. Why would a nun think by giving this gift
(even if she had contact with the royal court), that by doing so she might
deem that I think more highly of myself than I ought to think. This is a
woman who understands the family feuds between the Blois and Angevin
camps which have transpired in the very recent past.
Blois and Angevin camps had been polar opposites during the Anarchy;
and now Her Mother was married to an Angevin and Marie to a Blois.
Marie is simply writing to her Mother’s husband in the hope this will amuse
his taste and his courts and she is in trepidation of how it will be received.
Poems at court were mainly a male pastime. It was probably the first time
that poems from a female perspective were read in court and Marie may
have been nervous of how her poem was to be received.
This is again, a classic case of scholarship closing its eyes and steering
everyone in the wrong direction while decreeing virtually nothing is
known of her life’. Marie of France was an older maternal half-sister to the
future Richard I of England who was the Count of Poitiers (11691196) son
of Eleanor of Aquitaine (Marie’s mother) and Henry II of England.
Lanval is a poor knight at King Arthur's court, mixing with Gawain and
Guinevere and a host of others brought to life by Henry Blois through his
poems read at court and in some part orally transmitted. But, more
specifically, Marie of France knows of Avalon and employs the iconic island
and is devising poems about characters that were initiated by Henry Blois
while Henry is still alive. We have already covered that Marie’s brother
Richard had heard Chrétien’s work before Wauchier and wauchier stating
Bleheris was the source.
It is not by accident that Robert de Boron knows of Chrétien. It is also
hardly surprising the author of the Elucidation quotes both a 'Master Blihis'
and a knight Blihos-Bliheris. We could speculate that it was Henry’s
influence which encouraged Marie to feature Avalon as the place of
unknown whereabouts: The Bretons tell that the knight was ravished by his
lady to an island, very dim and very fair, known as Avalon. Marie of France’s
material c.1165-70 which has so much in common with what we know
Henry Blois was propagating at Marie of Champagne’s court is not being
found from supposed Breton conteurs while residing in an nunnery in
England.
Marie's parents' marriage was annulled in 1152, and custody of Marie
and her sister Alix was awarded to their father, King Louis. Their mother,
Eleanor of Aquitaine re-married King Henry II. In 1160 her father, King
Louis VII also re-married to Adele of Champagne just five weeks after his
previous wife, Constance of Castile, died in childbirth. Queen Adèle was the
mother of Louis VII's only son, Philip II, who was Marie’s step brother.
Adèle of Champagne (Henry Blois’ niece) was the daughter of Theobald II,
Count of Champagne, and was named after her grandmother, Adela of
Normandy, (Henry Blois mother).
As a family marital arrangement for his new wife, King Louis VII
betrothed Marie of France and Alix, his two daughters by Eleanor of
Aquitaine to Adèle 's brothers, Henry Blois nephews. Even though Marie
attended the abbey of Avenay in Champagne to further her education, she
still held court with her husband and had a large library. It was at this court
Chrétien de Troyes heard Henry’s expansion from Arthuriana into Grail
lore where both Robert and Chrétien derived their material.
So, in 1164, Marie of France as she was commonly known married Henry
Blois nephew Henry Ist Count of Champagne and they had four children,
one of which was also named Marie of Champagne, who died 1204 not long
after her mother.
Marie of France was also a patron of literature, including Andreas
Capellanus, who served in her court, and Chrétien de Troyes and she may
well have been the source or connection to the Grail book which Chrétien
suggests came from Philip of Flanders. Philip may also have been the
patron of Chrétien while Chrétien was writing his romance ‘Percival and
the story of the Grail’. In the opening lines, Chrétien heaps laudatory praise
on Philip for having provided him with the book he adapted into the "best
tale ever told in a royal court".
Henry Blois had many royal connections to Flanders where the
Perlesvaus scripts seem to emanate from and Henry was a great uncle of
Philip.
However, a deep relationship existed between Marie and her half-
brother the future Richard I of England and his celebrated poem J'a nuns
hons pris, lamenting his captivity in Austria (at the time Arthur’s body was
dug up at Glastonbury), was dedicated to Marie.
It is in the opening lines of the poem Guigemar that Marie first reveals
her name to be Marie; she refers to herself "Marie ai num, si sui de France," -
‘My name is Marie, and I am from France’. Scholars seem to have assumed
she is otherwise a different person from Marie of Champagne because they
have determined that she lived in England not understanding that much of
her base material thought to be of Celtic origin was based on her husband’s
uncle’s characters and output.
She, like Henry Blois does not wish her views expressed in some of her
Lais to be attached to herself; so explicitly hides behind her name as she
was known before she was married. Marie from France could be anyone
called Marie who is from Ile de France. Before she got married she was the
only ‘Marie of France’ of note.
As Henry Blois had provided a source for ‘Geoffrey’ so that should he
ever have been found out posing as Geoffrey of Monmouth, the source
material appeared to be written by another. So too, Marie claims in the
prologues to most of her Lais (too often and with too much ado
1
) that she
has heard the stories from Breton minstrels.
It is not by accident that so few positive indications of her circumstance
are given in her poems for this is purposefully hidden. For a woman in the
twelfth century to express herself publicly (especially with such avante
garde views) was almost impossible, so she hid behind the fact that others
composed the themes. This was instigated so that themes feminine could be
expressed but seemingly appear to derive from Breton jongleurs. Marie at
times gets graphic and expresses themes that aristocratic ladies like herself
should not have knowledge of.
If she was not wealthy and really was just an ordinary poet squirreled
away in a nunnery in England; how easily she transfers her acclaim for
such exquisite poetry to another and how intricately she represents the
sentiments of the female aristocrat. The obvious reason for being coy or not
being explicit about her identity is that the views expressed are not
traceable to her and do not reflect her own experiences.
1
1) Hearken now to the Lay that once I heard a minstrel chanting to his harp. In surety of its truth I will name the
city where this story passed.
2) Listen, oh Lordlings, to the words of Marie, for she pains herself grievously not to forget this thing.
3) Now will I tell you a story, whereof the Breton harper already has made a Lay.
4) Now will I rehearse before you a very ancient Breton Lai. As the tale was told to me, so, in turn, will I tell it
over again.
5) I will tell you the story of another Lay. It relates the adventures of a rich and mighty baron, and the Breton
calls it, the Lay of Sir Launfal.
6) The story of their love was bruited so abroad, that the Bretons made a song in their own tongue, and named
this song the Lay of the Two Lovers. Etc…
Marie’s adulterous sentiments which pervade her Lais are personal
reflections dramatised. It is also probable Marie is trying to rationalize her
own mother’s divorce from Louis VII and explores the problems of love in
highborn women in loveless marriage reflecting the modern female
sentiments of those of her friends and family. The Crusades had taken
many men from their women for lengthy periods and thus lustful affairs
are themes de rigeur.
The Fables, another of Marie’s works, is dedicated to a "Count William",
who may have been either William of Mandeville who grew up with Philip
of Flanders or Count William may refer to William Longsword, the
illegitimate son of Henry II. As Marie was Henry II's half-sister, through
Eleanor of Aquitaine, a dedication to his son is a strong possibility. After all
it was her other half brother Richard who claims to have heard Chrétien’s
Le Conte du Graal from Bleheris as it was his favourite and we know where
Chrétien was based and from whom Chrétien got his source material at her
court.
The English poet Denis Piramus mentions in his Life of Saint Edmund
the King, written in around 1180 that the Lais of a Marie were popular at
court: "And also Dame Marie, who turned into rhyme and made verses of
'Lays' which are not in the least true. For these she is much praised, and her
rhyme is loved everywhere; for counts, barons, and knights greatly admire it,
and hold it dear. And they love her writing so much, and take such pleasure in
it, that they have it read, and often copied. These Lays are wont to please
ladies, who listen to them with delight, for they are after their own hearts."
It seems highly improbable and English nun is the source!!!
The presence of an Anglo-Norman dialect in her writings and the
survival of many of her texts in England suggest that she and Henry Blois
may well have promoted (exchanged) each others works. Three of the five
surviving manuscript copies of the Lais are written in continental French
and it seems unfounded for scholars to insist the writer of the Lais is any
different from Marie de France, sister of Alix of France and to insist that she
was English; where most of the evidence, even by Shoaf’s reckoning is
leaning toward her using her old title before she became married.
One can assume she is highborn by the rationalisation of employing her
time to some good purpose rather than succumbing to a life of idleness:
Whoever wants to be safe from vice should study and learn (heed this
advice) and undertake some difficult labor; then trouble is a distant neighbor--
from great sorrows one can escape. Thus my idea began to take shape: I'd find
some good story or song to translate from Latin into our tongue. (prologue)
The setting for Marie's Lais is the Celtic world but this is based initially
on the stage set by Henry Blois. Marie reflects the feminine embellishments
of Arthurian romances. Henry Blois originally as ‘Geoffrey’ creates the
Chivalric Arthur and then post 1158 expanded upon this idea in romance
material expressed through Master Blehis etc. orally and in written verse.
In most of Marie de France’s Lais, love is associated with suffering and
most involve an adulterous or improper relationship. Rather than the male
orientated jousts, battles of Knights and adventures reflecting the male
aspects of the Arthurian stage…. Marie opens up the lot of women in her
Lais…. from the feminine aspect set in the same romance era. In Marie's
Lais, love always involves suffering and frequently ends in grief. Just from
the prologue above by alluding to escaping sorrows’ it seems her marriage
was not perfect.
In Bisclavret and Equitan the adulterous lovers are severely condemned,
but there is evidence (based on the personal dramatization of her own
lusts) that Marie approved of extramarital affairs in some instances. It is
plain that Marie like her mother was lustful. She puts the handsomeness of
men on an equal footing as the beauty of women; where women ravish
men and yet women have the power to besot men. She knows what it
means to lust after men and express this appetite in Yonec….yet, more
frequently, it is the women in her tales that have power over men through
their beauty and condescend to sharing their body to satisfy the male lust;
going the whole way!!
If Marie of Champagne’s husband Henry had his attentions elsewhere,
surely the pre-occupations of adultery would be a cause for her
rationalizing such scenarios in her poetry. However, Henry of Champagne
made his court at Champagne one of the most powerful of the era and the
Count's court at Troyes became a renowned literary centre where the likes
of Walter Map was among those who found hospitality there. The Lancelot
prose cycle claims him, "Gauthier Map," as the author, but scholars have
discounted him as dying too early i.e. 1210. Some have conceded that the
original is a lost ‘Lancelot’; but ‘Lancelot’ having emanated from Marie’s
court authored by Map is certainly possible only if scholars were not
intransigent on how they have looked upon the proliferation of Grail
material.
As I mentioned before, after the death of Count Thibaut II of Champagne
in 1152 (Henry’s brother), Henry Blois would have been like a father figure
to Henry of Champagne. To my mind, between Count Henry and his wife,
much of the proliferation of Henry Blois’ Grail propaganda can be
witnessed to have been perpetuated and embellished as a direct result of
their court and the people who frequented it.
I have speculated elsewhere that the original Tristan and Isolde poem
originated with Henry Blois c.1133 in the period of constructing the pseudo
history. This is based upon the common links of Merlin, Tintagel, and
Arthur becoming intertwined so easily in later cycles and the fact that Breri
was the originator. We know also from John of Cornwall’s rendition of the
prophecies that Henry has been in Cornwall and thus locates Arthur’s
Camlann battle near Tintagel. Thus, where Marie is concerned we can
speculate that her reference to Tristan and Isolde in Chevrefoil is based on
her having obtained this story directly from Henry Blois.
From the view point of Henry Blois, any furtherance of the fictional
Chivalric Arthur and his knights could only increase the groundswell of
interest and further provide an historical backdrop for his chivalric
invention resurfacing in reality back at Glastonbury. We know he has
already planted Arthur’s grave and Glastonbury is going to become Avalon
and we already know beforehand from two sources that Guinevere and
Arthur are going to be found when the grave is unearthed.
What existed once in the seedling of the Primary Historia…. a brief
account of chivalric Arthur (thirty five years previously) had then
blossomed, so that the vestiges of Arthur the Warlord and the Arthur
understood in ‘the hope of the Bretons’ had become synthesized and
expressed as one with Henry’s fully developed chivalric Arthur.
It seems fairly obvious in Lanval that Marie exposes herself as
pretending to source her material from the Breton minstrels when it is
obvious she is recounting not only ‘Geoffrey’s’ work but also that of Wace:
King Arthur was staying at Carduel-- That King of valiant and courtly estate--
His borders there he guarded well against the Pict, against the Scot, who
would cross into Logres to devastate the countryside often, and a lot. He held
court there at Pentecost
2
, the summer feast we call Whitsun, giving gifts of
impressive cost to every count and each baron and all knights of the Round
Table. Are we to thinkthis same scene, which opens Chrétien de Troyes
romance Le chevalier au lion (Yvain) is found by a nun in England at the
same time Chrétien’s work is exposed.
To fully understand this one has to be cognizant of the fact that the
Bishop of Winchester is both Wace and Geoffrey of Monmouth and the last
grandee of her husbands forebears; but most importantly, he is the elusive
master Blehis who has supplied both Marie and Chrétien with the same
material. Obviously this last passage chimes with Chrétien’s work, Shoaf
just needs to ask herself where is Chrétien based.
Leogres is Geoffrey’s invention of part of Arthur’s kingdom (where
giants once existed l’ogres)in which was held the state fair at Caerleon and
Henry Blois is also responsible for the invention of the round table. So, we
can see Marie of France carrying out the same ploy as Henry Blois in
pretending the source of her material is from elsewhere…. and no doubt it
is Henry Blois who advises her to express herself fully under the cloak of
secrecy.
Marie of France writing after 1164 (when she became Countess Marie of
Champagne) publishes her work under her own former appellation which
just so happens to describe any other person called ‘Marie from France’.
In Marie’s lai titled Yonec we could speculate that Henry Blois may well
have intoned to Marie that Arthur was in a tomb. Apart from the mound
(which can be equated to Glastonbury Tor), her mistreated lady locked in
the tower has her lover Knight that is buried in a tomb in an abbey. He is
un-named, yet was the king of the country and she is buried beside him at
her death. Is this derived from seed material which put Arthur and
Guinevere at Avalon in an original Perlesvaus? Do not forget Henry is
2
The Only reason Geoffrey has Arthur holding a court at Whitsun was because he had attended his Uncle’s
feasts and the jousting events that accompanied them with foreign dignitaries in attendance. It is hardly
surprising then that Chretien hearing the same at the court of Champagne writes: Arthur, the good King of
Britain, whose prowess teaches us that we, too, should be brave and courteous, held a rich and royal court upon
that precious feast-day which is always known by the name of Pentecost. The court was at Carduel in Wales
responsible for the authorship of Perlesvaus before his death in 1171.
Arthur’s bones did not surface until after 1189
So from the start of Henry’s conversion of Avalon into Glastonbury
c.1157-8 based upon VM’s Insula Pomorum; to a time when Henry is likely
be proliferating this connection to the court of Champagne, which is from
1164 onward, after the marriage of Marie to Henry’s nephew; we have the
most likely 6 years to 1170 that Master Blehis was actively involved in
propagating Grail material at the only court known for Grail propagation.
Henry had no other family to visit not having children except Nephews in
the church.
This continental Grail material’s attachment to Glastonbury could only
emanate from Henry given that it is so associated with Arthur, Joseph, and
Melkin’s prophecy. Now, if you are a scholar in the long established
tradition of picking a corner of expertise and holding to it no matter what
evidence is put before you (even advocating 1170 and all the rest of the
observations made by Shoaf above) you would never see the wood for the
trees even if they fell on you; and God forbid that a scholars’ bubble is
burst!!!
Thus we have Shoaf the Arthurian aficionado likening herself to the
infallible pope and my theory on who might be the real Marie of France is
summarily dismissed; likened to Gallileotelling the Pope the sun doesn't rise
in the East (her words). Henry Blois is Master Behis and Marie of
Champagne is one and the same with Marie of France. Gallileo was ordered
to abandon his opinion and arrested, but he was right. Scholarship has
become the Church of the Matter of Britain refusing to go against dogma.
One wonders where they have put their heads. Carley refuses to see the
Prophecy of Melkin as a real document and the source of the Grail; Crick
thinks Geoffrey of Monmouth is a real person; Cunliffe does not even
mention the real location of Ictis in his book about Ictis; Shoaf will not get a
grasp on who Marie of France really was; even if you made her read her
own biography of Marie. She will remain ignorant of the author of the
Chivalric Arthur… like the pope, infallible. Lagorio who thinks that Joseph
lore at Glastonbury is a chance event and R.S Loomis, after questioning why
Avalon came to be identified with Glastonbury, tells us it is not the
scheming of an Angevin King or the cupidity of Glastonbury Monks but it all
rests on the mistaken logic of a Breton minstrel; and to heap coals states:
Robert died in 1147 and Alexander in 1148 and thereafter a dedication to
either would have no point.
Marie of France expressed in her poetry what transpired around her
and what she had seen in her mother’s own love life (who was known to be
highly sexed). Marie captivates the female court audience with adulterous
affairs, women of high stature like her mother who seduced other men,
women seeking escape from a loveless marriage. Marie wrote Lais
expressing her own risqué sentiments that were contrary to the traditions
of the Church, and marriage and therefore…. the Lais are posited as stories
having been told by others i.e. Breton minstrels: This adventure chanced in
Brittany, and in remembrance thereof the Bretons made a Lay, which I heard
sung by the minstrel to the music of his rote.
The ploy is that what is expressed cannot be accounted as the feelings
and views of Marie of Champagne, but the stories and the avant-garde
views appear to originate with minstrels: Many a one, on many a day, the
minstrel has chanted to my ear. I would not that they should perish,
forgotten, by the roadside. In my turn, therefore, I have made of them a song,
rhymed as well as I am able, and often has their shaping kept me sleepless in
my bed.
Again, another example is found in Bisclavret where Marie re-affirms
the lais are not of her imagination: Some time later (not very long, I think,
unless I heard it wrong), The King went riding in the wood….
There is no proper way that a woman could express the feelings of lust
and love in beguiling circumstances and be the respectable wife of a Count,
daughter of a King and not be accused of ‘owning’ much of the emotional
impropriety witnessed in her poetry. The only way of expressing herself is
to disown the provenance of the material avowing (too frequently) that the
tales derive from Breton conteurs.
What seems evident is that Marie did hear Breton Jongleurs and to my
mind where Chaitivel and Laustic are concerned, an original lai existed. In
Chaitivel, Marie tackles every women’s dilemma (as propriety dictates only
one suitor), by having four lovers all at once…. and desire fulfilled from
four loves. In others obviously the material came from Henry to her and at
the same time Chrétien.
The Lais also exhibit the idea of a stronger female role and power, which
is exactly as Henry Blois viewed women…. as his own mother was the
power broker of the Blois region. To my mind, Henry encouraged Marie and
propagated her poems in Britain; and at her court his own seedlings of the
Grail legends were born, coalesced and initially propagated. We are reliably
informed by experts that the essence of Marie’s stories is of Celtic (rather
than of Breton) origin when neither is categorically true.
Marie of Champagne was the former Marie of France. It seems only fair
to propose that she and Henry Blois knew each other well as she feels at
liberty to use what is an Arthurian background to convey her feminine
sentiments by using icons and characters which in all likelihood came from
the uncle of her Husband just as Chrétien’s work is seen above from the
same source at the same court in the same era. That Marie uses Avalon as a
mystical island where Lanval lands on the lady's palfrey, and the two ride
together to Avalon…. an island, very dim and very fair, known as Avalon and
are never seen again…. indicates that the man who invented Avalon as this
mystical isle has encouraged her to write the Lais and she understands his
symbolism.
Marie is concerned with affairs of the heart (female and male love) and
it is obviated on the one side by the content of Marie of France’s Lais; on the
other there is clear evidence that Countess Marie of Champagne is the same
person because Marie is called to judge (as an authority) the affairs of love,
clearly indicated by the following letter from a certain noble women A and
Count G:
To the illustrious and wise woman M. Countess of Champagne, the noble
woman A. and Count G. send greeting and whatever in the world is more
pleasing.
Ancient custom shows us plainly, and the way of life of the ancients demands,
that if we are to have justice done we should seek first of all in the place
where Wisdom is clearly known to have found a home for herself and that we
should seek for the truth of reason at its source, where it is abundant, rather
than beg for its decisions where it flowers scantily in small streams. For a
great poverty of possessions can scarcely offer to anyone a wealth of good
things or distribute an abundance of fertillity. Where the master is oppressed
by great want it is wholly impossible for the vassal to abound in wealth.
Now on a certain day, as we sat under the shade of a pine tree of marvellous
height and great breadth of spread, devoted wholly to love's idleness and
striving to investigate Love's mandates in a good-tempered and spirited
debate, we began to discern a twofold doubt, and we wearied ourselves with
laborious arguments as to whether true love can find any place between
husband and wife and whether jealousy flourishing between two
lovers ought to be approved of. After we had argued the matter back and
forth and each of us seemed to bolster up his position with reasonable
arguments, neither one would give in to the other or agree with the
arguments he brought forward. We ask you to settle this dispute, and we
have sent you both sides of the question in detail, so that after you have
carefully examined the truth of it our disagreement may be brought to a
satisfactory end and settled by a fair decision. For knowing clearly and in
manifest truth that you have a great abundance of wisdom and that you
would not want to deprive anyone of justice, we believe that we will in no wise
be deprived of it; we most urgently implore Your Excellency's decision, and we
desire with all our hearts, begging you most humbly by our present address,
that you will give continued attention to our case and that Your Prudence will
render a fair decision in the matter without making any delay in giving the
verdict.
Now why would this man and woman the noble woman A. and Count G. be
appealing to someone other than the person renowned for their lais to
pronounce a judgment on who might be wrong or right before either end
up as one of Marie’s ill fated protagonists. In all Marie’s lais, it is that sole
endeavour which the listener, hearing the words, subconsciously carries
out while wrested in thought; i.e. making judgements upon whether the
characters have received justice for their deeds or how they were wronged
in love. Marie’s lais are about the pitfalls of relationships and love, so who
better for the noble woman A. and Count G to go to for advice. That nothing
is known of Marie of France the composer of the lais is ridiculous. Marie of
France is the same person as Marie of Champagne and the earth revolves
around the sun for the likes of Shoaf.