The topic for the third journal was to discuss the courtly love aspects found in "The Miller's Tale,"Alison," and "Merciless Beauty." Courtly love is where a lady is put upon a pedestal of love, and a man will ask her to pity him. The man always says that he is her servant, but sings her songs of woe. In "The Miller's Tale," there were three men that put a young lady upon a pedestal of love. The first one was her husband, whom she had just recently wed. Her husband, who was a carpenter, loved her more than life itself. The following lines state how the carpenter felt about his wife: This carpenter had wedded a new wife Which that he loved more than his life.
Of eighteen years she was of age; Jealous he was, and held her near in cage, For she was wild and young, and he was old, And suspected of himself that he was like a cuckold (238, Lines 113-118). The second man was a poor scholar, a clerk that was called handy, courteous, or attractive Nicholas. He was the carpenter's clerk. He lived in a chamber without any company at all. This clerk, at the first sight of the carpenter's wife, was in love. He caught the carpenter off one day at a town near Oxford, told her how he felt: And privately he caught her by the genitals, And said, "Truly, unless I have my will, For secret love of thee, less, I die," And held her hard by the thighs, And said, "Sweetheart, love me right now, Or I will die, so God me save" (239, Lines 168-173).
Nicholas, later on in "The Miller's Tale," cries and wants the lady to show him some pity. The following lines show this: This Nicholas gained mercy for to cry, And spoke so fair, and made such vigorous advances That she her love him granted at last, And swore her oath by Saint Thomas of Kent That she would been at his commandment, When that she may her opportunity well spy (240, Lines 180-185). The third man was a parish clerk called Absolon. He wanted her love and her pity.
The following few lines talk about how he wanted the lady to pity him: "Now dear lady, if thy will be, / I pray that you have pity on me." The next few lines talk about how he wanted her love: "Alas," said Absolon, and wail away, That true love was ever so ill-used, Than kiss me, sin that it may be no bet, For Jesus love and for the love of me (Page 249, Lines 606-609). "Alison" is a song a man has written to try to show his love and praise for this certain woman. He sings of her like there is nobody else. He also said that he has taken away his love from all other women and alights it over Alison. The following few lines show how he praises and loves her: Nights when I turn and wake, Therefore my cheeks wax eth wan: Lady, all for thine sake Longing has come upon me.
In world is no one so clever a man That all her excellence can tell; Her neck is whiter than the swan, And fairest maid in town. A gracious chance I have received (351, Lines 22-30). "Merciless Beauty" is also a song about a man who loves and praises a woman. But he also asks for pity, and he is kind of singing woe also. The following lines show how he praises her: Upon my troth, I say you faithfully That ye have been of my life and death the queen, For with my death the truth shall be seen Your eyes two will slay me suddenly: I may the beauty of them not withstand, So wound eth it throughout my heart keenly (Lines 8-13). The next few lines are where he is talking about her mercy: Alas, that nature hath in you enclosed So greatly beauty that no man may attain To mercy though he die for the pain.
So hath your beauty from you heart chased Pity, that me avail eth nought to complain. For hastiness holds your mercy to his chain (Lines 21-26). The last lines here are like woe in some aspects: Love hath my name struck out of his slate, And he is struck out of my books clean For evermore, there is not other means. Since I from Love escaped am so fat. I never intend to be in his prison lean: Since I am free, I count him not a bean (Lines 34-39). Once again, as stated in the opening paragraph, courtly love is where a lady is put upon a pedestal of love.
The man asks her to pity him. The man always says that he is her servant, but sings her songs of woe. "The Miller's Tale,"Alison," and "Merciless Beauty," definitely contained these aspects. If the men in the story were not praising or wanting the women's love, they were wanting pity or woe. The courtly love aspect was definitely a factor in all of these works.