My parents had French friends, and my mum was taught French and spoke it, but somehow when I went to my secondary school aged eleven and first had French lessons, I didn’t immediately get to grips with the language. However I persevered, and even though I’m not actually very good at learning languages despite desperately wanting to, I went on to do French for A-Level and as part of my degree…. what a long time ago that was, and it’s only now in my French conversation group that I feel confident about chatting in this language…

Here is a wonderful poem

Quand viendra la clarté

Quand viendra la clarté
Des amoureuses flammes
Qui mette en liberté
Amants, aussi leurs dames ;
Qui leur pleur tourne en ris,
Et jaloux bien marris !

Plût à Dieu qu’il fût dit
Que tous ceux qu’Amour presse
Eussent plus de crédit
Chacun vers sa maîtresse,
Que les fâcheux maris
Et jaloux bien marris !

Et qu’on pût déposer
Un qui tance et maltraite,
Pour celui épouser
Qu’on désire et souhaite
Nos maux seraient guéris,
Et jaloux bien marris !

Et si quelque obstiné
Disait qu’il en appelle,
Jour lui fût assigné
Par devant la plus belle
Qui soit dedans Paris,
Et jaloux bien marris !

Mellin de Saint-Gelais – 1487-1558

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