Christine de Pizan, L'Epistre au dieu d'amours, in Maurice Roy.
Translation (c) Jeay and Garay
Women are often deluded
Because they are simple, not because they plan to do wrong;
It often happens that they fall in love,
Willingly or not, with those who deceive them,
And that they are betrayed before they realize it.
But when they are trapped in this way,
You should hear how the disloyal men who have caught them
Poke fun at them.
It is not enough for these men to cheat them,
But then they join in a wicked alliance with other fellows.
There is no deed nor promise
That they don't tell to each other, and the more favours
They have received, the more they boast
That they have been welcome in the room of the ladies
Who love them; then they swear, on body and soul,
That it happened in such a way
And that they slept naked together.
The fellows talk it over in taverns;
The knights do their part and huddle
In the courts of our lords the dukes,
Or at the king's castle, or reveal all somewhere else;
And there, they hold their sessions with such pleas.
Some are constrained to embellish their speech
To tell good stories, without exactly lying,
About their bold feats of chivalry.
But in the evening, around big fires or on cushions,
They have fun together, and by way of provocation,
They say to one another: "I know about you,
And who is your sweetheart; you perform favours
For her love, but many share it,
You are welcomed when another leaves her!"
The envious slander the mistress
Without the slightest evidence of anything bad about her.
And the man who is laughed at
Pretends to be afflicted;
But he enjoys the fun
And from his beak fly many words
Which are as good as indictments, despite his apologies;
With his excuses, he names and accuses her,
And he pretends to hide and conceal
Things he takes pleasure in telling and disclosing.
And then some begin to make fun of others,
For the sole purpose of doing the same,
Making merry sport and reminding them
Of things they want to reveal to everybody. [...]
Ladies complain also
About many clerics who condemn them;
They make dittiés, rhymes, prose and verse,
Defaming their behavior in various writings.
Then they give this matter
To their new young students,
By way of example and doctrine.
In their verse, they say that Adam, David, Samson,
Solomon and many others
Have always been deceived by women;
The man has not been born who knows how to avoid it.
Some say that they are very deceitful,
Cunning, false and of little value.
Others say that they are great liars,
Changeable, inconstant and loose.
Others accuse them of many vices.
And if someone tells me that books are full of their vices,
Here is my response to those about whom I complain;
I answer that women did not write books
Nor put in them what is said
Against them and their behavior.
Those who plead their cases without evidence
Can speak their minds easily,
Without justifying the content;
They take the easier part,
Since such aggressors easily hurt
Those who don't know how to defend themselves.
But if women had written books,
I know for certain that things would be otherwise,
Because women know that they are wrongly accused.