Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Bedroom Politics - Mathieu of Boulogne

Whenever there is a secret, woman from here to the island of Crete insists on discovering it. She seizes her husband, drags him off and takes him to bed, pretending that she wants to make love; then she kisses and embraces her husband and deceiving him with her words says, "I don't know what a man has to fear, for in the words of God, a man leaves his father and mother for his wife, they become one, hopefully one flesh, it really is possible. For God has united and joined them with one indivisible bond, tying them tightly so that they will stay together. Therefore every man should do whatever pleases his wife."

Then she strokes his head and resumes the kissing and lies down under him and, arching her back and spine, offers to him her carnal vessel, saying "I'm ready to do your will and shall prove this to you whenever you wish. I beg you to be mine, for we are one and in my case as God says, whether you like it or not, you are mine however reluctantly, and to my mind, rightly so." And as they draw together and she recognizes in his excitement that he is getting ready to copulate, she presses her breast against his, despite the silk of the bedclothes and blankets, saying to him; "Here you are, I'm giving you all I have, offering up to you my heart, body and all my limbs, but please do not forget that you are my husband and lord. Now tell me what I ask of you, you can tell me confidently, for indeed God will know if I am lying. I'd prefer to suffer a terrible and sudden death than to reveal your secrets to others. Oh wretch that I am. I would never do it. You know how I am, you've put me to the test many a time, fair friend, wise husband, now tell me why I am not party to this information. Everything you know I ought to know too. No other person will ever get to hear of it."

Then she kisses and embraces him again, caressing and soothing him. With blandishments and flattery she presses herself right up against him saying, "How foolish and wretched I am since you scorn and ignore my words. Alas, I am truly dishonoured by my misguided love for you. If my neighbours knew of this, I would right1y be criticized, if the situation between us were common knowledge. I love you more than I love myself, I am far superior to other women, yet you deny me knowledge of your secrets - and I tell you all I know, never omitting anything. Other women cover themselves better, for they do not reveal their secrets, they are wise to do this. Yet I am foolish and generous, since I behave in this way towards you. And love alone makes me do this." What more effective and touching proof is there than the gift of one's heart and one's mouth? If the man tries to draw closer, she forbids him to touch her, pulls away, turns her back on him and weeps as if sad and upset. She pretends to be very distressed. Then there's double trouble. She is silent for a while, then sighs and in a grumbling tone says, after a few moments' silence, "Alas, how I am deceived. I can't help but lament; whatever this man wants, I want it too. God knows his every wish would be mine, yet he would do nothing for me. I know that what he keeps hidden from me he discloses to all other women. He who says that man is deceived by woman is misguided and wrong. In this respect too I have been misled. I love you yet you don't love me at all. You aren't mine yet I am yours. And because I love you I'm telling you that you would please me greatly if you were to tell me what I ask. for I would then reveal to you all that I know, and I wouldn't lie on pain of death. Alas, I am your chambermaid. I'd rather be far away and be lying dead in a pit. The matter would have to be very important indeed for me to be able to hide it from you, yet you do not wish to reveal anything to me. I serve you as my lord, as a very important and superior person, yet you turn a deaf ear to my words Our love is hardly mutual."

The man is dismayed and ponders awhile but can find no defence against this attack; he does not notice the malice in her words and replies, "What's the matter, my love? Please turn round. I have never been so upset as I am now over your complaint. I love you truly and there is nothing else so dear to me." She then turns to face her husband, offering him her mouth and breast. He is completely taken in by her lecture. In response to a barrage of request and supplications, he reveals everything to her, thus committing great folly, for from then on, she is the lady and mistress, while he lives the wretched life of a serf. Perrette wants me to tell her everything, concentrating all her efforts on making me angry. If I don't resist, believe me, I shall be treated just as you have heard.

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Man Superior to Woman – Chapter Four