Matiere et san

Ki de bone matiere traite,
Mult le peise si bien n’est faire.
Oez, seignurs, ke dit Marie,
Ki en sum tens pas ne s’oblie.Whoever has good material for a story is grieved
if the tale is not well told.
Hear, my lords, the words of Marie,
who in her own time does not squander her talents.
–Marie de France, prologue to Guigemar

Matiere et san li done et livre
La contesse et il s’antremet
De panser, que gueres n’i met
Fors sa painne et s’attancion.

The countess provides him with matter and meaning,
whereas he undertakes to think,
for he brings to the task nothing more than his effort and intention.
–Chretien de Troyes, Charrette (The Knight in the Cart)

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