Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 September 2003
Il finera car touz iourz vivre
Ne pourra pas.
(He will meet his end, for he cannot live for ever)
The ensemble of texts brought together in the celebrated MS 146 of the fonds français in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, makes up a complex and many-sided essay on government and kingship, one directed to the French monarch Philip V (1317–22) at or near the beginning of his reign. Its various elements reflect on the problem-laden final years of the rule of his father, Philip IV ‘le Bel’ (1285-1314), and the troubled succession that followed in 1315 and 1316. Each fascicle of the manuscript, the so-called Roman de Fauvel, the dits of Geffroi de Paris, the collection of songs and dits ascribed to Jehannot de Lescurel, and the anonymous verse chronicle of the years 1300–16, interacts with the others in myriad ways and on many levels to yield a collective commentary on the state of the monarchy and the realm, and an admonitio on wise rule.